December 6, 2023

Pathfinder News

redefining news

Gaza Hostage Deal Between Israel,Hamas’Closer Than Ever’-US

A deal to secure the release of some of the hostages held in Gaza by Hamas terrorists is closer than ever in the Islamist group’s war with Israel, a White House official said on Sunday.

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer said an agreement to free “considerably more than 12” hostages would also likely include an extended pause in the fighting and allow for the distribution of humanitarian assistance in Gaza.

Fighting raged on Sunday, with Hamas terrorists battling Israeli forces trying to push into Gaza’s largest refugee camp, the day after Israeli and US officials denied a Washington Post report that a deal had been reached.

“What I can say at this point is that some of the outstanding areas of disagreement, in a very complicated, very sensitive negotiation, have been narrowed,” Finer said.

“I believe we are closer than we have been in quite some time, maybe closer than we have been since the beginning of this process, to getting this deal done,” he added.

Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog also said in an interview on ABC’s This Week that Israel is hopeful a significant number of hostages could be released by Hamas “in coming days.”

But Finer cautioned: “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed. Sensitive negotiations like this can fall apart at the last minute.”

Hamas took about 240 hostages during its deadly cross-border rampage into Israeli communities on Oct. 7, which prompted Israel to lay siege to Gaza and invade the Palestinian territory to eradicate its ruling Islamist group. “We’re talking about considerably more than 12 (hostages),” Finer said.

“This could and would likely include an extended period of a pause in the fighting, a multiple-day period,” he added. “It would enable us, we believe, to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza. That’s a priority under any circumstances.”

Finer also said Israel should not conduct combat operations against Hamas in the south of Gaza until military planners have taken into account the safety of fleeing Palestinian civilians.

“In the event that Israel is likely to embark on combat operations, including in the south, we believe … that they have the right to do that,” Finer told CBS’ Face the Nation programme in a separate interview.

“We think that their operations should not go forward until those people, those additional civilians, have been accounted for in their military planning,” he said.