Israel and Hamas Consider Cease Fire to Exchange Hostages

( – Israel and Hamas may be closer to ending their war than ever before, but the negotiations have stalled over how to bring the conflict to an end. The reported negotiations are discussing the possibility of a month-long cease-fire and the return of Israeli hostages. The war’s fourth month is coming to a close with the end of January.

Reporting by the New York Post based on statements from three anonymous individuals involved with the matter suggests that a ceasefire agreement is close. The 130 hostages still held by Hamas would be released – civilians first and captured soldiers last in batches over time.

Washington, Egypt, and Qatar have been engaged in multilateral talks with Israel and Hamas’ leadership to bring the war to a close as the conflict has begun to spiral out of control.

Iranian-armed Houthis in Yemen have been launching missiles and suicide drones at U.S. and international commercial ships in retaliation for the war in Gaza. Iran has also taken the opportunity to launch missile attacks against targets in neighboring countries while claiming the strikes were targeting terrorists who had attacked inside Iran. The U.S. and Western countries frequently strike inside counties in the region using the same justification.

Hamas originally asked for several months of ceasefire, but Israel wants to limit the period to just 30 days. Hamas is also hesitant to continue negotiations without a firm exit strategy for the conflict while Israel only wants to negotiate one step at a time.

Hamas is seeking a “package deal” that would bring a permanent ceasefire in exchange for its hostages, according to a Palestinian official. He suggested Israel and Hamas are only having discussions through third parties.

US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk was in the area according to the White House.

Sources involved suggest Hamas is being encouraged to take the one-month cease-fire which will lead into a permanent cessation of hostilities, but Hamas believes Israel will restart the fighting regardless.

Senior Hamas leader Abu Zuhri speaking with Reuters said that a deal is possible, but they want Israel to pull out completely from the Gaza Strip and to stop bombing the area.

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