Report details Israel’s deal proposal, including ‘permanent’ cessation of hostilities before all hostages return

Michael Bachner is a news editor at The Times of Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Knesset plenum session in Jerusalem on May 27, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a Knesset plenum session in Jerusalem on May 27, 2024. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Channel 12 news publishes extensive details of what it says is Israel’s May 27 proposed hostage and ceasefire deal to Hamas, without citing sources or saying how it obtained it.

Contrary to what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted, the reported document apparently does not include the elimination of Hamas as a governing force in Gaza, and does include an Israeli commitment to end the war even before all hostages are released.

The report says the four-page document, titled “General Principles for an agreement between the Israeli side and the Palestinian side in Gaza on the exchange of hostages and prisoners and restoring a sustainable calm,” includes 18 clauses and three phases.

In the first phase, according to the reported document, Hamas would free all the women — including soldiers — in addition to men over the age of 50 and ill and wounded civilians — 33 hostages in total. In return, Israel would release 30 Palestinian security prisoners per hostage, or 50 per female soldier, with the inmates belonging to the same group (women, children, elderly, etc.) as the hostages they were being exchanged for.

Notably, the release of Palestinian inmates, including terror convicts, would be “subject to lists to be provided by Hamas based on precedence of their imprisonment.”

Out of the 50 Palestinian prisoners freed for each of the five female soldiers believed to be held alive in the Strip, 30 would be inmates serving life sentences, and 20 would be serving other sentences “limited up to 15 years remaining time in prison.”

The identities of those estimated 250 prisoners would also be based on lists provided by Hamas, except an “agreed upon number of prisoners (at least 100) who will be discussed in the second phase 2.” At least 50 of the freed inmates serving life sentences would be released to Gaza or abroad, not to the West Bank.

In the first phase, Hamas would let go of three female civilian hostages on day 1 and another four on day 7, followed by three Israeli hostages every seven days, beginning with women — whether civilians or soldiers — and with all the living hostages being released before any bodies.

During the sixth week of the first phase — after the release of Hisham al-Sayed and Avera Mengistu, civilians who separately entered the Strip of their own accord close to a decade ago — Israel would free 47 Palestinians who were freed in the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal and have since been rearrested, the reported proposal says.

In addition, Israel during the sixth week would also release all Palestinian women and children under 19 “who are not militants” who have been detained in Gaza since October 7.

All prisoners will not be rearrested for the same offenses, and will not be required to sign any document.

Regarding the sensitive issue of how the transition from the first phase to the second will work — on which Netanyahu’s version of the deal has differed from the one publicly presented by US President Joe Biden — the document says that no later than day 16, indirect negotiations will begin over details of the exchange that will take place in the second phase, when soldiers and remaining men will be released.

“This should be concluded and agreed upon before the end of week 5 of this [first] phase,” it says, adding that “all procedures in this phase including the temporary cessation of military operations by both sides… will continue in phase 2 as long as the negotiations… are ongoing. The guarantors of this agreement shall make every effort to ensure that those indirect negotiations continue until both sides are able to reach agreement on the conditions for implementing phase 2 of this agreement.”

In phase 2, which will last 42 days, the sides will “announce restoration of a sustainable calm (cessation of military hostilities permanently)” which will begin before that phase’s hostage-prisoner exchange. Also, during this part, Israeli forces will completely withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

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