Hamas has agreed “in principle to the release of about 50 Israeli women and children, pending the approval of the Israeli government.”
In exchange for the Israelis, Hamas has agreed to a three-to-five-day pause in the fighting, increased aid to Gaza, and the release of a number of women and children held in Israeli prisons.
The hostage negotiations are made more complicated because Israel and Hamas refuse to talk directly to one another and the government of Qatar is acting as a go-between. Communications with battlefield units of Hamas are spotty and sometimes, it takes hours for a response to an Israeli query.
The Israeli war cabinet is meeting this morning (U.S. time) to discuss the proposal, and there’s some indication that the deal will be rejected. Not enough hostages, too long a pause in the fighting.
The hope is that agreement on a deal for the release of at least some of the captives could lead to further talks on freeing the remainder of those held in Gaza. Hamas has indicated previously that it will keep Israeli military hostages, estimated to number several dozen, apparently for use in separate exchanges for Palestinian militants held in Israeli prisons.