Mon 27 May 2024 8:17 am - Jerusalem Time

Yedioth Ahronoth: The talk is about a comprehensive deal to return all the prisoners

On Monday, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth quoted informed sources as saying that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to obstruct any prisoner exchange deal with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), even before it is matured.

The newspaper reported, citing those sources, that the only offer currently being talked about for exchange is a comprehensive deal to return all the prisoners. The sources said that if the Israeli War Council receives an offer for a prisoner exchange deal, Netanyahu will be in the minority.

In light of the renewed attempts to start negotiations with Hamas, the Prime Minister’s Office talked about a possible discussion based on new proposals led by mediators, but sources familiar with the details say that the only proposal on the table is “the familiar proposal, a comprehensive agreement to return all the kidnapped people.”

Senior officials accused Netanyahu last night that while the war cabinet could discuss the first phase of the deal, the prime minister was working to avoid reaching that point.

“Netanyahu is not clearly thwarting the agreement, but he is doing so before the matter is even ripe, so basically every opportunity is missed,” one senior official said.

He added that the messages from Netanyahu's office are actually aimed at reassuring the families of Israeli prisoners in Gaza, "but there is nothing real behind them, and as long as Netanyahu does not agree to discuss Hamas's conditions, no agreement can discuss them."

Broad mandate

The newspaper says that Netanyahu's office responded harshly and attacked the negotiating team itself, saying, "While the Prime Minister has repeatedly given the negotiating team a broad mandate to release our hostages, Yahya Sinwar continues to demand an end to the war and the withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip."

After several weeks of stalemate, the War Council decided last week to expand the negotiating team's mandate, following the latest round of talks in Paris, in which the mediators agreed to make efforts to resume the talks.

CNN reported last night, citing an Egyptian source, that the talks will resume in Cairo next Tuesday.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that it was unclear whether Hamas would agree to participate in the talks. Arab mediators told the newspaper that an invitation had been sent to Hamas, but it had not yet confirmed its participation in the new talks.


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Yedioth Ahronoth: The talk is about a comprehensive deal to return all the prisoners