Israeli cabinet to vote on Gaza deal outline after major progress in Paris talks

Potential headway in reaching a deal for the release of Israeli captives in return for Palestinian prisoners has been made after Hamas dropped some of its "more harsh demands" and outlined possibilities for a hostage deal that they could work with, Israeli media reports said on Saturday.

According to reports, Hamas officials have told Arab media sources that they are willing to be flexible on the following three parameters: the length of a ceasefire, how many Palestinian prisoners will be released, and the condition of a complete Israeli army withdrawal from the Gaza strip.

The reports state that Hamas gave up on its original demand of 1,500 Palestinian prisoners for 40 Israeli captives. Hamas also allegedly gave up on a full withdrawal of the Israeli army from the Gaza Strip but still insisted on a withdrawal from central cities and the removal of military barriers so displaced Gazans could return to their homes.

Different Israeli media sources have claimed different numbers of hostages agreed upon in an alleged agreement, with Channel 13 mentioning 35-40 Israeli hostages in exchange for 200-300 Palestinian prisoners and six weeks of a temporary ceasefire.

Earlier on Saturday, Israeli sources told the "Walla" news portal that they can "work with" the new Gaza hostage and ceasefire deal outline, but also added that "progress was made in Paris, but further steps are to be taken before a deal can be reached."

Israel's war cabinet is expected to digitally convene to approve the new outline for a hostage and ceasefire deal and a vote will be held over the telephone at 9:00 p.m. local time, according to additional reports by Israeli media.

These reports come following a series of talks in Paris between an Israeli delegation including Mossad chief David Barnea, Shin Bet head Ronen Bar, the Israeli army's hostages' affairs coordinator Nitzan Alon, and Head of the Israeli army Strategic Affairs Division Oren Seter, and Hamas officials, as well as mediation by actors such as CIA chief William Burns, Egyptian Intelligence Chief Abbas Kamel, and Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed Al-Thani.

Source: Naharnet

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