The full Israeli cabinet is set to convene at 8 p.m. today “in light of the developments regarding the release of our hostages,” the Prime Minister’s Office says.
Multiple outlets are reporting that ministers are meeting to give final approval for a hostage release deal with Hamas. Such a deal is widely expected to be approved.
Prior to that 8 p.m. meeting, the war cabinet will meet at 6 p.m. and the security cabinet will meet at 7 p.m. to okay the deal as well.
Meeting with reserves troops in southern Israel earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “we are advancing” toward a deal. “I don’t think I should say too much, even now, but I hope we have good news soon.”
Earlier, Channel 12 news cited a senior Israeli official as saying “we are very close to a deal.”
Noting that there were still technical issues to be resolved, the official said there was an agreement that at least 50 people will be freed, while dozens more could be released in exchange for extending a planned ceasefire beyond the initial few days.
Those set to be released, in phases over 4-5 days, are expected to be some 40 children, as well as their mothers and other women, the report said.
In exchange, Israel would reportedly free some 150-300 Palestinians, among them women and minors. There would reportedly be a ceasefire in the war as the releases go ahead. According to some reports, Israel would also stop using drones to monitor parts or all of Gaza for several hours a day during the ceasefire.
In line with a 2014 amendment to the Government Law, the full cabinet is required to approve the early release of security prisoners. Early release is possible only under tight national security or foreign relations conditions, including the release of Israeli citizens or residents held hostage, as is the case now, or as part of a foreign policy agreement.