Wed 28 Feb 2024 7:19 am - Jerusalem Time

An Israeli channel reveals a “draft” of an exchange deal with Hamas

On Tuesday evening, an Israeli channel revealed the content of an alleged draft resulting from the “Paris meeting” regarding a prisoner exchange deal between the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Israel, which it claimed included the release of 40 detainees in the Gaza Strip in exchange for 404 Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli Channel 13, which published the draft yesterday, Tuesday, claimed that it was agreed upon last Friday in the French capital after negotiations took place with the participation of Qatar, Egypt, the United States, and Israel.

According to the channel, the document “mainly includes the details of the first phase of the crystallized deal that was approved by Israel.”

She added, "The first phase extends for 40 days, during which a ceasefire will prevail in the Gaza Strip."

According to the draft, “In the first phase, 40 detainees will be released, including 15 people over 50 years old, 13 patients, 7 women, and 5 female soldiers.”

On the other hand, the draft stipulates “the release of 404 Palestinian prisoners, including 15 prisoners sentenced to long prison terms, and 47 who were released in the Shalit deal (in 2011) and were later re-arrested by Israel,” according to the same source.

The arrangements agreed upon in the first phase of the proposed deal will not apply to the second phase, which will be subject to separate negotiations later, as the channel reported.

The draft also stipulates, according to the same source, “an increase in the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza to achieve the goal of 500 trucks of aid entering Gaza daily by the end of the first phase.”

Channel 13 quoted an unnamed Western official as saying, “The document was drafted by the United States, Qatar, and Egypt.”

No official body has confirmed the authenticity of the document published by the Israeli channel or its content.

American optimism

For his part, White House National Security Advisor John Kirby said that the US administration is optimistic about reaching an agreement for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza soon.

He explained that his team "is engaged in the talks to crystallize the agreement, but that does not mean competing for time before the month of Ramadan."

US President Joe Biden said during an interview with NBC that Israel is ready to stop its attacks in Gaza during the month of Ramadan in accordance with a ceasefire agreement that leads to the release of detainees.

For its part, the official Israeli Broadcasting Authority spoke of “cautious optimism in the negotiations, but the gaps are still large.”

She added in a report on Tuesday evening that “the Israeli delegation present in Qatar is scheduled to receive Hamas’ response to some of the controversial issues discussed in the talks.”

The day before Monday, Israel sent a negotiating team from the Mossad and the army to Doha to continue negotiations on the deal and obtain Hamas’ response to it.

Nothing new to announce

In Doha, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman Majid Al-Ansari said that Qatar is optimistic about the ceasefire talks in the Gaza Strip, and hopes for a cessation of hostilities during the holy month of Ramadan, but he stressed that there is no agreement yet between Hamas and Israel.

Al-Ansari added in a press conference on Tuesday in Doha, “We call on all parties to calm down and we seek to reach this goal despite the presence of obstacles.” He stressed that efforts are continuing at various levels regarding mediation, and he spoke of optimism in light of the continuation of negotiations, and “but there is nothing new to announce.” about him".

He stressed that Qatar hopes that the two parties will be able to stop hostilities during the month of Ramadan, and pointed out that Doha “cannot comment” on the statements of the US President, during which he spoke about the possibility of reaching an agreement on a ceasefire next Monday.

The Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesman criticized the lack of international pressure to bring aid into Gaza in light of the decline in the amount of humanitarian aid that entered the Strip in the recent period, and said, "It is painful for the humanitarian side to be part of the negotiations."

Tel Aviv estimates the number of detainees held by the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip at about 134 Israelis, including soldiers, while the Israeli occupation holds no less than 8,800 Palestinians in its prisons, according to official Palestinian and Israeli sources.

Qatari mediation - with Egyptian-American support - succeeded in reaching a temporary humanitarian truce on November 24, which lasted for a week, during which 240 Palestinian prisoners were released from occupation prisons in exchange for the release of more than 100 detainees held by the resistance in Gaza, including about 80 Israelis.

Source: Al Jazeera + agencies


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An Israeli channel reveals a “draft” of an exchange deal with Hamas