Washington Post says ‘framework agreed’ for hostage-truce deal; Hamas, Israel to cede control of Gaza in 2nd phase of deal

IDF soldiers walk in the southern Gaza Strip, July 3, 2024. (AP Photo/ Ohad Zwigenberg, Pool)
IDF soldiers walk in the southern Gaza Strip, July 3, 2024. (AP Photo/ Ohad Zwigenberg, Pool)

Israel and Hamas have agreed on a “framework” for a hostage release and truce deal and are negotiating how to implement it, the Washington Post reports, saying that a key step was both parties agreeing to accept an  “interim governance” of Gaza by a Palestinian Authority-backed force in the second stage of the deal.

The report, in an op-ed from commentator David Ignatius, cites a senior US official as saying that “the framework is agreed” and the parties are now “negotiating details of how it will be implemented.”

The report says officials caution that although the framework is in place, a final agreement probably isn’t imminent, and it will take time to hammer out all the details.

“The stumbling block has been the transition to [Phase 2], in which Hamas would release the male soldiers who remain as hostages and both sides would agree to a ‘permanent end to hostilities’ with ‘a full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza,'” Ignatius writes.

According to Ignatius, a key development is that both Israel and Hamas have now “signaled their acceptance of an ‘interim governance’ plan that would begin with Phase 2, in which neither Hamas nor Israel would rule Gaza.”

He says security would be provided by a US-trained force, backed by moderate Arab countries.

The force would be drawn from a 2,500-strong group of PA supporters already vetted by Israel.

Hamas has told mediators that it is “prepared to relinquish authority to the interim governance arrangement,” a US official tells the Post.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Fatah-dominated PA in 2007 during a bloody coup and the two Palestinian groups have remained at odds ever since with Hamas the de facto regime in Gaza.

According to the report, both sides are motivated to end the fighting, with Israel wanting to prepare its forces for a possible confrontation with Iran and its proxies. It also quotes a US official as saying that Hamas is in “rough shape” in its underground lairs and low on ammunition and supplies.

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