Israeli Cabinet Approves Deal To Release Hostages, Pause Fighting In Gaza

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Jake Smith Contributor
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Israel’s cabinet approved a deal late Tuesday for Hamas to release a number of hostages in exchange for a temporary pause in the conflict, according to multiple reports.

In the first phase of the deal, Israel will pause its counteroffensive efforts in the Gaza Strip for approximately four days in exchange for the release of 50 hostages from Hamas, according to Axios. Israel will also release 150 Palestinian prisoners as part of the agreement. (RELATED: ‘Every Day Is Like An Eternity’: Families Of Hostages Held In Gaza Speak Out About Their Grief)

Hamas will release more Israeli hostages in exchange for more days in which fighting is paused, according to Axios.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened with his war and security cabinets before meeting with his full cabinet on Tuesday to discuss the deal. U.S. and Israeli officials recently expressed optimism that a large number of the over 200 hostages in Hamas captivity would be freed, though were hesitant to share specifics until a deal was finalized.

“We are advancing [toward a deal],” Netanyahu said on Tuesday, according to Times of Israel. “I don’t think I should say too much, even now, but I hope we have good news soon.”

“We’re closer now than we’ve been before. That’s a good thing,” White House National Security Advisor John Kirby told reporters on Monday. “But, you know, we don’t want to do or say anything publicly that’s going to jeopardize what we hope will be a positive result.”

Four hostages were released by Hamas on Oct. 20 and Oct. 23, and Israel separately rescued a hostage on Oct. 30. The majority of the hostages, and their current conditions, remain unaccounted for.

“Every day is like an eternity to me, and I can’t wait any longer,” said the Israeli-American mother of a 26-year-old hostage during a House Republican press conference on Nov. 7. “I need your help.”

The Israeli government has demanded that Hamas release all its hostages and repeatedly rejected calls for a ceasefire, although it has agreed to multi-hour “pauses” in the conflict to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza, according to Politico. The Biden administration has also rejected calls for a ceasefire but has pressured Israel to maintain pauses in fighting.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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