Report: Hamas Drops Key Demand for War’s End as Hostage Deal Advances

Demonstrators march during a protest by the mothers and relatives of Israelis held hostage
Jack Guez / AFP via Getty

The Palestinian terror group Hamas has reportedly dropped a key demand that Israel agree never to fight it again, as a condition for releasing its remaining hostages, according to media reports.

The Hamas demand was the key sticking point for months in efforts to negotiate an agreement to free the Israeli hostages taken during the October 7 terror attack. There are roughly 120 hostages still in Gaza, at least 50 of whom are thought to be alive.

The Times of Israel reported:

Washington’s phased deal will first include a “full and complete” six-week ceasefire that would see the release of a number of hostages, including women, the elderly, and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. During these 42 days, Israeli forces would also withdraw from densely populated areas of Gaza and allow the return of displaced people to their homes in northern Gaza, the pair said.

Over that period, Hamas, Israel, and the mediators would also negotiate the terms of the second phase that could see the release of the remaining male hostages, both civilians and soldiers, the officials say. In return, Israel would free additional Palestinian prisoners and detainees. The third phase would see the return of any remaining hostages, including bodies of dead captives, and the start of a years-long reconstruction project.

Hamas still wants “written guarantees” from mediators that Israel will continue to negotiate a permanent ceasefire deal once the first phase goes into effect, the two officials say.

There are still weekly protests in Israel in favor of a hostages deal and against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. Israeli leftists blame Netanyahu for the failure of negotiations thus far, but outside observers — including President Joe Biden, who has backed efforts to oust Netanyahu from office — have conceded that it is Hamas’s fault, since the Israeli government has been willing to compromise on almost every point on the table.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of “”The Agenda: What Trump Should Do in His First 100 Days,” available for pre-order on Amazon. He is also the author of “The Trumpian Virtues: The Lessons and Legacy of Donald Trump’s Presidency,” now available on Audible. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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