Israel and Hamas are close to a hostage deal that would free most of the Israeli women and children who were kidnapped Oct. 7, according to a high-ranking Israeli official, wrote opinion columnist and associate editor of The Washington Post, APA reports.
"The agreement could be announced within days if final details are resolved, a high-ranking Israeli official said.
"The general outline of the deal is understood," the Israeli official explained in an interview Monday, requesting anonymity to discuss the sensitive subject. The tentative agreement calls for Israeli women and children to be released in groups, simultaneously with Palestinian women and young people held in Israeli prisons.
A temporary cease-fire of perhaps five days would accompany the exchange of hostages and prisoners, the Israeli official said. This truce would allow safe travel for the Israeli captives. It could also permit more international assistance to Palestinian civilians in Gaza and should ease the humanitarian crisis there, the Israeli official explained.
Israel wants confirmation that its people held captive, each identified by name, are being released as it exchanges the Palestinian prisoners. This process of verification is one of the details that officials were still negotiating Monday.
Release of Israeli women and children would be a first step toward what Israel insists must be freedom for all hostages in Gaza. The high-ranking Israeli official said that a total of 240 to 250 hostages are being held.
The Israeli official said his government is committed to freeing all the hostages, including roughly 90 male civilians and a smaller group of soldiers, whom Hamas probably sees as the most valuable. “We want as many as possible, as quickly as possible, and no one stays behind,” the official stressed.
The next few days will be delicate, as Israelis hold their breath waiting for the first group to be freed and united with their families — and worrying about those who will remain captive. After the pause, the brutal reality of the war will resume — and the Biden administration will remain torn between its support for Israel and its growing concern about the plight of Palestinian civilians," says the source.