Washington, DC [US] : White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson has said the US is working hard to broker a deal between Israel, the US and Hamas to free hostages held in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting.
‘We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal,’ the White House National Security Council spokesperson said in response to a report by The Washington Post.
The report said Israel, the United States and Hamas have agreed to a tentative deal that would free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting.
The release, which could begin within the next several days, barring last-minute hitches, could lead to the first sustained pause in theconflict in Gaza, the report said citing people familiar with its provisions.
As per a six-page agreement, all parties to the conflict would freeze combat operations for at least five days while an initial 50 or more hostages are released in smaller batches every 24 hours.
It was not immediately clear how many of the 239 people believed to be in captivity in Gaza would be released under the deal. Overhead surveillance would monitor movement on the ground to police the pause.
The stop in fighting is also intended to allow a significant increase in the amount of humanitarian assistance, including fuel, to enter the besieged enclave from Egypt.
As per The Washington Post, the deal’s outline was put together during weeks of talks in Doha, Qatar among Israel, the United States and Hamas. The talks were indirectly represented by Qatari mediators, according to Arab and other diplomats.
Meanwhile, it was recently reported that in the midst of escalating pressure to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces a multifaceted battle.
Families and supporters of the nearly 240 hostages marched from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, demanding government action and expressing frustration at the limited meetings with Netanyahu, CNN reported.
Gil Dickmann, a relative of one of the abductees, urged the Prime Minister to prioritise the hostages’ safe return, saying, ‘Right now, in Netanyahu’s current political situation, this could be a real victory for the state of Israel.’
As Israel’s war in Gaza extends beyond six weeks, public opinion is turning against Netanyahu. Despite widespread support for the military campaign against Hamas, polls indicate a decline in favour of the Prime Minister and his coalition.
Opposition leader Yair Lapid called for Netanyahu’s resignation, emphasising the loss of public trust. However, he stopped short of calling for new elections, suggesting that Likud should present an alternative leader.
‘We cannot allow ourselves to have a prime minister who has lost the public’s trust, whether from a social or a security point of view,’ Lapid told Israel’s Channel 12, according to CNN.