Hamas has waived its demands for multiple monthslong cease-fires in its hostage negotiations with Israel after Israeli officials dismissed the request as ‘totally off base’ on Tuesday.
Hamas negotiators had demanded multiple cease-fires culminating in the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza in exchange for the remaining Israeli hostages, according to the Jerusalem Post. Now, the terrorist organization is saying it is open to an exchange of 120 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel for 40 of the hostages.
‘The five-way talks between Egypt, Qatar, the United States, Israel and Hamas are ongoing, but so far no agreement has been reached,’ a source close to the negotiations told the Arab World News Agency.
The source said Hamas had also demanded a one-day cease-fire in exchange for each hostage being released, an offer Israel also reportedly refused.
‘The proposal we received from Hamas on Sunday was totally off base, and we asked the mediators to try and produce a more acceptable proposal. They are working on it and let’s see what happens,’ an Israeli official told Axios.
The negotiations come after Israel announced a partial withdrawal of troops from Gaza. Military officials said the war had entered a new phase requiring more targeted strikes on Hamas militants and fewer mass air strikes and artillery barrages.
That change of pace is in line with requests from President Biden’s administration and Israel’s other Western allies, who had repeatedly sounded alarms about civilian casualties in Gaza.
Israeli officials believe there are roughly 133 hostages remaining in Gaza, though the U.S. has cautioned that there is no way to be sure how many of them are still alive.
SOME ISRAELIS ALLOWED TO RETURN TO BORDER COMMUNITIES NEAR GAZA STRIP, MILITARY SAYS
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made it clear that he expects the war to continue for ‘many more months’ despite the change in strategy this week.