'No Hamas-linked prisoners to be part of hostage deal'
December 1, 2023
(JNS) — Israel is making sure that none of the Palestinian prisoners it may release as part of a potential exchange with Hamas are connected to the terrorist group, The Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.
The newspaper reported that an internationally-brokered agreement for a temporary pause in fighting in Gaza and prisoner exchange is close to being realized. Hamas holds some 240 Israelis hostages in Gaza, who were captured during the terror group’s Oct. 7 invasion of the northwestern Negev.
According to Egyptian officials, the proposal under discussion would include the release of a number of women and children kidnapped on Oct. 7 in exchange for the same number of Palestinian women and children held in Israeli prisons. The officials said that Israel and Hamas disagree on the length of a ceasefire that would be part of the deal.
Egyptian officials said that Israel is “meticulously” verifying the names on the list of Palestinian prisoners who could be released to ensure that none of them are connected to Hamas.
The Egyptians told the WSJ that one scenario would see a five-day pause in fighting and Hamas releasing 50 hostages on the first day, followed by 10 hostages each day. Hamas would guarantee that mothers are not separated from their children. The officials said that some of the exchanges would take place at the Rafah Crossing with Egypt.
The Washington Post on Saturday reported on a similar framework of a potential deal.
According to the Egyptian officials, one of the main complications is the inability of Hamas to account for the whereabouts of the hostages it and other terror groups in Gaza are holding.
Meanwhile, members of Israel’s War Cabinet, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and minister-without-portfolio Benny Gantz are scheduled to meet with the families of some of the hostages on Monday evening.