Monday, July 15, 2024

“Broad steps are evident.” What is the price of the “deal” between Israel and Hamas?


Israel and the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip are close to a deal to free most of the Israeli women and children abducted in the October 7 attack.

While there is no official comment addressing recent developments on the “thorny” issue, senior officials point to “clear and specific general definitions of the agreement.”

On Tuesday, Washington Post opinion writer David Ignatius quoted a senior Israeli official as saying that “as the final details are settled, the deal could be announced within days” and calling for the release of Israeli women and children in droves.

At the same time, Palestinian women and youths held in Israeli jails will be released, and the official continued, “The hostage and prisoner exchange agreement is expected to be accompanied by a temporary ceasefire, perhaps for five days. This ceasefire will allow safe travel for Israeli prisoners.”

It was revealed that a deal would be reached after the Israeli army announced ground troops were entering Gaza City, and after Hamas announced it was ready to release about 70 children and women out of five. day ceasefire.

Between these two events, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said in a remarkable statement on Monday: “There are two or three weeks before international pressure (on Israel) grows in a real way, but the Foreign Ministry is trying to widen the margin. Legitimacy and wars will continue as long as necessary.”

Cohen’s statements were preceded by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement in an interview with US network NBC on Sunday that an agreement to release the hostages was likely, adding: “I’m talking less. This issue, the more likely it is to be reached.”

“The price will be high”

The Hamas hostage issue is one of two that Israel has set as primary goals in its ongoing war in the Palestinian Gaza Strip, and the second is defined as “the complete elimination and elimination of the movement.”

The Israeli military estimates that 240 people are being held hostage in the Gaza Strip, including at least 30 minors, according to Israeli media.

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It is not yet known exactly what number the expected deal will include.

According to the Washington Post, Israel wants to release 100 women and children taken from Israel, but the initial number is likely to be lower.

He noted that the number of Palestinian women and youths who could be freed was unclear, but an Arab official told the Comment writer last week that at least 120 remain in prison.

Reuters cited the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, as saying on Monday that Qatari mediators had made efforts to free women and children held hostage by Hamas in exchange for the release of 200 Palestinian children and 75 Palestinians. Women, total number of detainees to date Women and children in Israel Date 11 November.

Israeli political analyst Yoav Stern believes that “negotiations have been going on for weeks, but they have not yet come to an end on the hostage issue.”

Stern told the Al-Hurrah website: “There are some stories about the price. They are talking about 80 hijackers and a 3-day ceasefire, and there is talk of 100 hijackers.”

Officials in Israel refuse to address the issue, and only mention that negotiations are underway without specifying the content.

The Israeli researcher adds: “It is true, but the details are not final, and the families and relatives are in a bad psychological state.”

While Stern believes that “the prices for a deal will be high in any case,” Golan Barhum, a lecturer at the Center for Public Diplomacy in Israel, explains that “the hostage issue is sacrosanct in Israel.”

He told the “Al-Hurrah” website: “Israel has historically worked hard on this issue and concluded agreements. It is true that at the moment it wants to eliminate Hamas, but at the same time it is working on a complete release. The hostages.”

He added: “Despite success on the ground, the picture is incomplete. This issue is very sensitive as it has to do with saving lives.”

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“Division into Degrees”

It is not yet clear whether the “immediate deal” will include other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip or be limited to Hamas.

On Wednesday, Reuters quoted the Islamic Jihad movement’s secretary-general, Ziad al-Nakala, as saying that “negotiations over the Israeli hostages could push the movement to pull out of any agreement.”

Nakla added: “The movement can keep the hostages it holds for better conditions.”

Khalil Tufakji, a former member of the Palestinian delegation negotiating the peace process, believes that it was international or local pressure on Israel that “led to its involvement in the agreement regarding the hostages and the cease-fire in Gaza.”

Demonstrators in the West Bank stand in solidarity with Gaza and demand the release of prisoners in Israeli prisons.

Tufakji Al-Hurra told the website: “If the ceasefire ends, it means we have reached the end, indicating that there is local, Arab or international pressure on Israel.”

Although Israeli forces entered Gaza City, “they did not control the entire area and did not enter Beit Hanun and Beit Lahia.”

As he put it, Tufakji believes that the recent incursions into the land “cannot affect the opposition factions and the negotiations they are conducting”.

“From day one, Hamas proposed the idea of ​​dividing the hostage issue into stages, meaning civilian and civilian, and military personnel would be transferred to another stage.”

Tufakji continues: “There are no concessions on the part of Hamas on the hostage issue. An immediate deal will not be a weak point, especially since rockets are still being fired at Ashkelon and Tel Aviv.”

“Nobody in Israel can afford to ignore the hostage situation right now,” said Golan Barhum, a lecturer at the Center for Public Diplomacy in Israel.

“If there is an agreement for the release of hostages with a ceasefire for a certain period of time, this will not be a cessation of military operations from the air, land and sea,” the researcher adds.

‘Brief Ceasefire’

In response to the unprecedented attack by Hamas on October 7, Israel has been intensively bombarding the Gaza Strip for 5 weeks, and Israeli ground forces are advancing in the northern Gaza Strip, while fighting with the movement’s fighters in Gaza City.

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But now, more than a month later, “world leaders realize that Israel’s goals in this war (namely, destroying Hamas) are unrealistic, but they want Israel to win regardless,” says Alexander Langlois, an American researcher who focuses on Israel. In Middle East Affairs.

Langlois explains to Al-Hura: “While the IDF will control Gaza City in parallel with the negotiations, we may reach a point where the West (especially the US) will pressure the Israelis to accept the hostage deal offered by Qatar.”

The above will be similar to the Gaza war in 2021, US President Biden said: “Enough is enough” and called for an end, which Israel quickly promised.

This gave Israel the ability to claim a certain level of victory without prolonging the conflict in ugly ways that would ultimately hurt Israeli support and increase criticism from its supporters, the American researcher says.

Langlois believes that “Washington has almost reached an agreement with the help of Qatar to release the Americans in exchange for a serious cease-fire or cease-fire” and that it will not be a complete cease-fire (which may also mean that some Americans will remain. A cease-fire in exchange for a large portion of the hostages).

As for Cohen’s comments in two to three weeks, “the upcoming agreement could represent a broader agreement on this timeline that would end the fight and lead to a broader release process.”

However, Langlois says it “depends on many competing factors.”

These factors include: “Israel’s refusal to release Palestinian prisoners, Israel’s interest in ending the fighting before Hamas is destroyed, America’s interest in pressuring Israel for a cease-fire, and Hamas’ desire to release all prisoners in a peace deal.” Widespread between Palestinians and Israelis.

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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