Hamas chief Haniyeh claims ‘truce’ close as prisoner exchange said nearly settled

T. Belman.  I am a skeptic. How cab a deal be said to be close when the exzct number and identity of hostages is not known. We are told 50 to 100. Secondly why is Haniyah calling it a “truce”?

Thirdly, “ official said there is an agreement that at least 50 people will be freed, while dozens more could be released in exchange for extending a ceasefire beyond the initial few days.” This suggests to me that the release of hostages will be over an extended period of time  and for each additional release, more pause days and supplies will be demanded. How can you agree to a deal that isn’t specific in which the names and and number of all hostages being included are not fixed. Either it is far too vague or we aren’t being told the whole truth.

Remember, Hamas doesn’t care about the 300 women prisoners being released. Their ultimate goal is a ceasefire. It needed only hours to secret the hostages away. Why are they demanding and getting a ceasefire period of days to be increased for every additional release. They hope they can drag this out long enough to increase world pressure and to decrease Israel’s resistence to a ceasefire.

Palestinians sources say 50-100 civilian hostages would be released in exchange for 300 jailed Palestinians, five-day ceasefire and entry of 300 aid trucks to Gaza Strip

By AGENCIES and TOI STAFF    Today, 10:57 am

A billboard bearing portraits of Israeli hostages taken by Palestinian terrorists in the October 7 attack in southern Israel is displayed during a demonstration calling for their release, in Tel Aviv on November 15, 2023. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday a truce agreement with Israel was in sight, raising hopes that dozens of the hundreds of people taken hostage in the terror group’s devastating October 7 attacks could be released.

Palestinian sources said a ceasefire of five days would be accompanied by the exchange of some hostages for prisoners held in Israeli jails.

There was no immediate official response from Israel on the status of negotiation efforts to secure the release of the estimated 240 hostages seized during Hamas’s horrific assault.

The majority of the hostages are civilians, some of them infants, young children and elderly people. Only a handful have been released, rescued by Israeli troops or were recovered dead.

“We are close to reaching a deal on a truce,” Haniyeh said, according to a statement sent by his office to AFP.

In a similar statement posted to Telegram, the Doha-based Haniyeh said Hamas had given its response to Qatar and other mediators, without elaborating.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in a televised speech in which he called for a ‘political solution’ to the ongoing conflict with Israel, November 1, 2023. (Screenshot, Hamas Telegram channel)

Hamas gunmen killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, during cross-border raids from the Gaza Strip on October 7 — the deadliest attack in Israel’s history.

In response, Israel launched a military campaign to topple Hamas from ruling Gaza and to release the hostages. The intense air, sea, and ground campaign is targeting terror infrastructure which Israel says is embedded among the civilian population. Aid groups have warned of what they say is a growing humanitarian crisis with hundreds of thousands of people displaced and a shortage of basic supplies.

They said the tentative deal includes a five-day truce, comprising a ceasefire on the ground and limits to Israeli air operations over southern Gaza.

Under the agreement, between 50 and 100 Israeli civilian and foreign hostages would be released, but no military personnel.

In exchange, some 300 Palestinians would be released from Israeli jails, among them women and children.

According to the Hamas and PIJ sources, the deal would also allow for up to 300 trucks of food and medical aid to enter Gaza.

Hamas Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar is also insisting on the halt to all air operations, the Walla outlet reported.

While there was no official Israeli confirmation, Channel 12 cited a senior Israeli official Tuesday as saying “we are very close to a deal.”

Noting that there are still technical issues to resolve, the official said there is an agreement that at least 50 people will be freed, while dozens more could be released in exchange for extending a ceasefire beyond the initial few days.

Those set to be released are expected to be children, their mothers and other women, Channel 12 said.

Army Radio reported that the IDF Home Front Command’s operation division is believed to be preparing for an exchange plan.

The station cited security officials as saying that the IDF would remain in the Gaza Strip and that troops would not be pulled back into Israeli territory during the ceasefire.

A key humanitarian corridor along the Salah a-Din road leading from northern to southern Gaza would remain open to enable residents of the north to evacuate to the south.

However, the IDF will not permit residents who already evacuated to return to their neighborhoods during the ceasefire. The army is working on preparing capabilities to make sure that Hamas does not violate the ceasefire, including by using an extensive tunnel network the terror group dug under Gaza to deploy fighters. Any threat to Israeli forces that is identified will immediately be attacked, the report said, even during the ceasefire.

Education Minister Yoav Kisch told Army Radio, “We must not support a deal that would make us stop the war effort. Hamas will try to give us as few hostages as possible and create a reality in which we cannot continue to pressure it.”

Hopes had been growing for talks brokered by Qatar, where Hamas has a political office and which has behind-the-scenes diplomatic links with Israel.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Monday that its president had traveled to Qatar to meet Hamas’s Haniyeh. The ICRC said it calls for the release of hostages but is not part of any negotiations.

‘We will not stop fighting’

An agreement could bring some respite for Gazans who have lived for more than six weeks with Israel’s airstrikes and an expanding ground offensive.

Large parts of Gaza have been destroyed by airstrikes that have numbered in the thousands, and the territory is under blockade, with tight controls over food, water and fuel allowed to enter. Israel has said there is no shortage of essential supplies and accuses Hamas of plundering resources for its military apparatus — fuel, in particular — rather than distributing them to the civilian population. Israeli officials say Hamas needs the fuel to run the ventilation and electricity in its vast tunnel network.

Israel has vowed to press ahead with its offensive, pledging to crush Hamas and ensure the hostages are released.

“We will not stop fighting until we bring our hostages home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Monday after meeting relatives of those abducted along with the two other ministers in his war cabinet.

Udi Goren, whose cousin is Gaza hostage Tal Haimi, told reporters after coming out of the meeting that the war cabinet did not share any details about any possible deal to release the hostages.

Netanyahu’s office has repeatedly cautioned against various media reports regarding the hostage negotiations, adding that it would formally notify the public in the event that a deal is actually reached.

On Monday, US President Joe Biden was asked during the annual turkey pardoning ceremony on the White House lawn in the run up to Thursday’s US Thanksgiving holiday, whether a hostage deal was close to being reached, to which he responded: “I believe so… yes.”

He added that he could not speak publicly about it any further and then raised his hand up to show that his fingers were crossed in the hope that a deal would take place soon.

On Sunday, Channel 12 reported that while Israel

Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on November 20, 2023 (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

So far efforts by Qatar have led to the release of four of the hostages. A fifth hostage, a soldier, was rescued in an Israeli operation. Israel has also found the bodies of two hostages near the Shifa hospital in Gaza.

The families of hostages have been organizing protests, rallies, and marches to press the government on securing their loved ones’ release. On Saturday, families of hostages and thousands of their supporters demonstrated in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square in a rally focused in particular on the some 40 children believed held in Gaza.

According to Gaza’s Hamas-run health authorities, more than 13,000 Palestinians have been killed, two-thirds of them women and minors. Those figures cannot be independently verified, and Hamas has been accused of inflating them and of designating gunmen in their late teens as children. It is not known how many among its total are combatants, and how many among the dead were victims of misfired rockets aimed at Israel.

November 21, 2023 | 9 Comments »

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  1. At this point I am wondering if the whole affair was meant from the beginning to speed up the TSFS – it looks less and less random and more and more guided along certain lines with the rest of us being played for fools from the start.

    Why are the Jewish lives always so much cheaper than the Arab ones? There are a hell of a lot more Arabs than Jews.

    Israeli government debating partial hostage deal
    The deal could include an initial release of 50 hostages, expected to be women and children, within the first four days in exchange for a pause in the fighting.
    NOVEMBER 21, 2023 14:19
    Updated: NOVEMBER 21, 2023 21:42

    Israel accepts clause of Hamas’s Sinwar: No UAV intel. gathering for hostages
    The deal to release the hostages has the support of the IDF, Shin Bet, and the Mossad, and includes the release of about 140 security prisoners from Israeli prisons.
    NOVEMBER 21, 2023 19:21
    Updated: NOVEMBER 21, 2023 21:58

  2. @Sebastien Zorn

    I am wondering how many of the Israeli hostages are still alive, maybe this is why they offer to exchange only foreigners (Hamas wants foreign countries to keep supporting its “fight for freedom from oppression”).

  3. You know what a non-Jewish response would be to this situation?

    We demand that you release all the hostages by such-and-such a date.

    On the day past this date, we will start executing 3 (or whatever number of) jailed terrorists a day for every hostage still held by Hamas.

  4. In total agreement with you Ted!
    Of course I’m all in favour of freeing hostages but not at the expense of losing the war or making it more difficult to win.
    I’m with Moshe Feiglin. Flatten Gaza and annex it after every single arab is gone from there.
    Hamas must be laughing at us.

  5. @Shmuel Halevi

    Only the full Knesset must decide.

    Nobody will be able to stop it in an hour or two.

    I hope I am wrong but it looks like it was decided a while ago and Netanyahu was making heroic speeches, as usual, to put everyone to sleep while allowing the 30,000 march to organize and proceed to allow the troyka to cave in to all demands.

    Basically, they gave up on the idea of destroying Hamas – a 4-day ceasefire and no surveillance daily for 6 hours (in daytime?) – if true, this is murder for the IDF, and possibly for the Israeli hostages, and it is a strong encouragement for the terrorists to take MORE hostages..

  6. Hostage deal could be finalized in coming hours
    Among those expected to be released would be a 3-year-old American girl, whose parents were killed by Hamas on October 7th.
    NOVEMBER 21, 2023 14:19
    Updated: NOVEMBER 21, 2023 15:30 [emphasis mine within the text]
    According to senior Israeli officials, there is a strong possibility that the details of a hostage deal will be finalized in the coming hours, Israeli media reported.

    The proposed agreement involved the release of approximately 50 Israeli children and their mothers in exchange for a four-day ceasefire. It will take place in a 1:3 format, three Palestinian prisoners for each hostage.

    Under the terms of the deal, Hamas has committed to locating the remaining children and mothers. In return, Israel has agreed to release women and minors from Israeli prisons who were involved in acts of terror.

    Additionally, both parties are expected to confirm the provision of fuel and monetary assistance in the Gaza Strip.
    Who will be released if the deal is to be finalized?

    According to a CNN report, American officials hope that among the hostages that will be released is a 3-year-old American citizen.
    The other hostages to be released are comprised of several different nationalities, and it is unclear of how many of each nationality would be released.

    According to the report, the ceasefire has the potential to be extended to allow for the release of more hostages. Should a temporary ceasefire be reached, the IDF would stop flying surveillance drones for six hours daily over Gaza.


    So, it looks like this 30,000 strong march was a set-up to permit Netanyahu et al. to feign helplessness and go ahead with the hostage deal.

    Foreign citizens to be released 1:3 Pal. terrorists, Iraelis will be kept hostage (this is what it looks like), Israel not only continues 4-hour pauses with a 3-hour warnings but stops surveillance for 6 hours daily!!!

    Seeing that, the Saudis have started pushing for a full peace process with a Pal. state within 1967 borders (BRICS sunmmit).

  7. Only the full Knesset must decide.
    Discredited Netanyahu and two failed generals must not be allowed to make capital decisions.

  8. I fully agree Ted. This story is much to vague to be considered. The suggestion that further Israeli lives be endangered for the exchange of a handful of likely tortured and raped/sodomized hostages Hamas has no further use for, for dozens of well-fed Palestinian prisoners cannot even be considered except by self-centered relatives of the hundreds of other hostages. I agree that they have serious concerns but the price is non-negotiable.