Israel reportedly understands that ‘window of opportunity has reopened’ for hostage deal

Family and supporters of the estimated 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza complete the final leg of a five-day solidarity rally calling for their return, from Tel Aviv to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 18, 2023. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)
Family and supporters of the estimated 240 hostages held by Hamas in Gaza complete the final leg of a five-day solidarity rally calling for their return, from Tel Aviv to the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, November 18, 2023. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)

After President Biden said “yes” earlier today, when asked whether a hostage deal is close, Channel 12 reports that Israel “understands that the window of opportunity has reopened and these are critical days ahead.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has repeatedly cautioned Israelis against believing various media reports regarding the hostage negotiations, adding that it would formally notify the public in the event that a deal is actually reached.

But the Channel 12 report says Israel wants to progress in principle, on a deal for the release of 50-plus children and women.

It quotes a senior Israeli diplomatic source saying: “There will be difficult days ahead. Hamas will do everything to harm the Israeli public. The deal is not something that can be finalized from today to tomorrow; freeing the hostages will take several days.”

It notes that Hamas is demanding the release of 100 male and female prisoners; a five-day pause in the fighting; and that Israel not use its observation drones during those five days to keep tabs on what Hamas is up to.

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