Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told families of more than 100 hostages who remain in the Gaza Strip under the control of the Hamas terrorist group on Wednesday (31) that his government is preparing a plan to rescue them, in amid intense negotiations for a new truce in the war.
“Although it is too early to say how this will happen, the effort is being made now,” Netanyahu told 26 representatives from 18 families during the meeting held in Jerusalem, according to a statement from his office.
“We are doing everything possible” to rescue the hostages, said the prime minister, refusing to give details of a possible new agreement with Hamas.
“The more discreet it is [a negociação]the greater the chances of success”, he argued, guaranteeing that his desire to rescue the hostages is “genuine”.
Desperate family members of the hostages have led increasingly large demonstrations in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and other Israeli cities to pressure Netanyahu to give in to “any demands” from Hamas to rescue their loved ones.
In recent weeks, Hamas has stated that it is willing to release the hostages in exchange for a “definitive ceasefire”, something that Netanyahu vehemently refused, considering that the war must continue until the elimination of the terrorist group from Gaza.
However, Qatar, Egypt and the United States, which act as mediators in the war between Israel and Hamas, are negotiating a new truce similar to the one that occurred during a week in late November, when 105 hostages were released in exchange for the release of 240 Palestinians. [mulheres e menores de idade] held in Israeli prisons.
Currently, Hamas – which demands the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza – is considering a draft deal proposed by Qatar that includes the release of 35 civilian prisoners in exchange for a complete 45-day ceasefire, the release of about 100 Palestinian prisoners for each release of hostages and increase in humanitarian aid for Gaza, sources close to the talks told EFE.
In a second stage, the military hostages would be released and, in a third, the bodies of the hostages who died during captivity would be recovered.
However, Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir warned today that he will not accept an agreement that means the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners or that “endangers Israel’s security”.
In turn, former prime minister and opposition leader Yair Lapid told “Channel 12” that his party is ready to enter Netanyahu’s government “to replace” Ben Gvir’s Jewish Power and Religious Zionism parties, by the Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrcih.
The war in the Middle East broke out on October 7, following Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel, which resulted in around 1,200 people killed and the kidnapping of another 250 in Israeli cities near the Strip.
It is estimated that there are currently 132 hostages remaining in Gaza – 121 Israelis and 11 foreigners – of whom at least 26 have died, according to Israeli authorities.
However, hundreds of Israelis dissatisfied with the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza protest daily at the Kerem Shalom border crossing trying to prevent trucks from passing. Today, several dozen of them were detained in the middle of clashes, according to the local press, stating that 120 vehicles entered that point during the day.
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