Adding details to reported terms of hostage deal outline, TV report claims ‘shift’ in Hamas demand for end to war

Quoting an unnamed source saying “significant progress” was made in the Paris talks on a hostage-truce deal, Channel 12 says “it is possible” that some hostages may be freed before the start of Ramadan on March 11.

It notes, however, that Hamas has to first respond to the framework terms.

Channel 12 also cites unconfirmed reports that there has been “some kind of shift” by Hamas on its demand for an end to war — which the terror group has hitherto insisted must be a condition for further hostage releases.

Adding minor new details to reports over the past few hours of the formulation between Israel, the US, Egypt and Qatar of the outline for a new deal, it specifies that the four agreed that 40 hostages would be freed in a first phase, including children, all women hostages, and elderly and sick hostages. In exchange, Israel would release hundreds of prisoners — some of them “heavy” security prisoners with blood on their hands. The truce would last some six weeks. There would be a “new deployment” of IDF forces in the Strip for the duration of the truce (rather than a withdrawal). And some Gaza women and children could return to the north of the Strip.

The number of security prisoners to be freed was not finalized. And Israel was insisting, in the longer term, on no major reconstruction of Gaza until the Strip is demilitarized, the TV report says.

If the eventual agreement reflects these terms, the TV report says, it would gain Israeli cabinet approval. If also accepted by Hamas, there would be “a high chance that, before March 11, we will see hostages freed for the first time since [the first truce collapsed at the end of] November.”

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