Palestinian and Western media reports revealed on Thursday the possibility of reaching an agreement under a temporary ceasefire to release prisoners detained by Hamas.
A Palestinian source familiar with the mediation efforts confirmed that there is a breakthrough that may lead to the announcement of a deal within the next 48 hours, set to be implemented in three stages under the supervision of Washington, European countries, and the UN.
According to the source, a draft agreement is under negotiation as part of efforts to end the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, but negotiations are facing some difficulties on the ground.
The source told the Arab World Press agency under condition of anonymity, on Friday, that: “There is consensus between Hamas and Israel on all the details of the swap process, and all that remains is to announce the implementation date.”
He explained that the implementation of the agreement will take place in three stages:
The first is Hamas’ release of some dual nationals and foreign workers, followed on the next day by the release of a group of women and children detained by the movement, and on the third day, Hamas will release the rest of the women and children, and pledges to hand over a list with the names of all non-Israeli military detainees.
Israel on its end will be committed to releasing any Palestinian women and children detained in its prisons on the second day of the humanitarian truce, or what Israel calls a “tactical ceasefire.”
It will also ensure that fuel is brought in on a daily basis since the beginning of the declaration of truce through the UNRWA to specific entities and operations within the deal.
American television network “CBS News” reported on Thursday evening that that Israel is considering a proposal under which Hamas would release a portion of the hostages it is holding in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a ceasefire for a period ranging between three and five days, with allowing aid into Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in response to a question from CBS News about the proposed deal and Israel’s efforts to release the hostages: “We are closer than we were before we started ground work. The ground operation put pressure on Hamas to achieve a ceasefire. We will have a temporary ceasefire.”
The Irish Times reported that the Israeli war cabinet met on Thursday evening to discuss an emerging deal to release about 50 hostages, most of them civilian children and women, in exchange for a ceasefire for a few days and Israel’s release of Palestinian security prisoners.
The newspaper pointed out that one of the 238 hostages held by Hamas is Irish citizen Emily Hand, who was kidnapped from Kibbutz Be’eri.
The American newspaper The Hill reported that White House National Security spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday evening that the United States is engaged in “intensive negotiations” regarding securing the release of some Hamas hostages.
The Hill confirmed that Qatar, which maintains contacts with Israel, Hamas, and the US, is also engaged in negotiations.