As the latest development, on 21 November Hamas chief hints that a truce agreement with Israel was imminent. The Israeli Premier Benjamin Netanyahu, on the other hand said he hoped for good news about the Israeli hostages soon. These statements come as most positive signals from both sides since the war erupted on October 7, 2023. The Hamas officials stated they were “close to reaching a truce agreement” with Israel as the group has sent its response to Qatari mediators, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh quoted by Reuters.
An official statement released by the Israeli PM’s office quotes the Israeli PM saying: “We are making progress. I don’t think it’s worth saying too much, not at even this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon”. PM Netanyahu was scheduled to convene his war cabinet “In light of the developments regarding the release of our abductees,” the prime minister will convene a ‘war Cabinet’ at 6 p.m. (11 a.m. ET). This will be followed by a “political-security Cabinet” and “government.””, PM’s office said.
Reuters quoted a source briefed on the negotiations that the much-awaited agreement, marking the first truce of the war and the first mass release of hostages held by both sides, was in its “final stages” and “closer than it has ever been”. The source was quoted as saying it was the “closest we’ve been” to a hostage deal. Further describing the potential deal, it was revealed that the first round would procure the release of around 50 Israeli civilian hostages by Hamas and the release of female and minor-aged Palestinian detainees from Israeli custody, as well as a few days’ pause in fighting.
Qatar is mediating between both sides and will be announcing the details of the deal. A Haas official was quoted by Al-Jazeera TV that the negotiations were centered on the duration of the truce, the arrangements for delivery of aid to Gaza, and the exchange of captives. Both sides will likely free women and children. Israeli TV channels Channel 12 and Channel 13 both quoted unidentified officials as saying terms of a deal could be reached “within hours”. U.S. President Joe Biden and other U.S. officials said on Monday, November 20 that a deal was near.