The Israeli Knesset is deciding on a hostage deal that could mean as many as 80 Israeli hostages being released and a pause of up to 8 days.
That deal is supposed to be decided on tonight and Netanyahu is a part of the process.
Here’s the latest on what we know via JPost:
The government was expected to approve late Tuesday night a partial hostage deal that could include a pause in the Gaza war in exchange for a release of up to 80 out of over 239 people seized by terrorists during Hamas’ infiltration of southern Israel on October 7.
“We have a difficult decision before us tonight, but it is a correct decision,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the start of the meeting.
Opponents of the deal have warned that it will harm Israel’s ability to secure the release of all the hostages and complicate Israel’s military campaign to oust Hamas from Gaza. They have also warned that it will be difficult to resume the war once it has been temporarily halted.
Netanyahu dismissed those charges explaining that the IDF planned to resume the war once the deal was executed.
“I want to clarify. We are at war and will continue to be at war until we obtain all our objectives, to destroy Hamas and to return all our captives and missing persons,” he said.
“We will also ensure that there won’t be any entity in Gaza that will threaten Israel,” Netanyahu stated.
He recalled how he and the war cabinet had met with the families of the hostages the previous night.
“I told them that the return of the hostages is a sacred and primary mission that I swore to complete,” Netanyahu said.
“This war has phases and so does the return of the hostages,” he said.
The entire security establishment fully backs this deal, he said. This agreement will allow the IDF to better prepare for the rest of the war, Netanyahu said, adding that neither the lives of the soldiers nor the intelligence gathering apparatus would be harmed in that period.
Netanyahu said he had spoken with US President Joe Biden. As a result of that talk, Biden had intervened and secured better terms for the deal, Netanyahu explained.
The deal, mediated by Qatar, would create the first long-term pause in the fighting since Israel embarked on its military campaign to oust Hamas from Gaza. It comes amid increased international pressure for a ceasefire.
The Specifics of the Deal:
Under the broad contours of the deal, 50 hostages would be released, within the first four days in exchange for a pause in the fighting during those 96 hours.
Some 40 children and 13 mothers are held hostage. It’s expected that some, but not all, would be part of that first batch of hostages.
The 50 hostages would be freed in smaller groups during those days and not all at once.
Israel would in exchange release some 150 Palestinian women and minors held in its jails on security related offenses, but none of them would those directly involved in terror attacks with fatalities.
There is a possibility for the release of an additional 30 hostages held in Gaza should the pause in the fighting be extended for up to another four days.
All those slated for release are alive and have Israeli citizenship.
Hamas knows that hostages are the only leverage they have and I do believe Israel should do everything they can to free the hostages. A four day pause will get 50 of the hostages released, but Hamas will still have nearly 200 hostages to bargain with. I just hope, if Israel agrees to this deal, that they are watching where these hostages come from and perhaps mount a rescue mission for the rest. I’m sure it’s not that simple but that is my hope.