May 28, 2024 - World

Israel gave mediators updated proposal for Gaza hostage-ceasefire deal

A woman walks past a logo designed to represent the Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip

A woman walks past a logo for Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip on May 26, 2024 in Jerusalem. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

Israel gave Qatar, Egypt, and the U.S. on Monday an official written, updated proposal for a possible deal to release hostages held in Gaza that could lead to a temporary ceasefire, according to two sources with knowledge of the negotiations.

Why it matters: Indirect talks between Israel and Hamas over a hostage deal became deadlocked three weeks ago.

  • An Israeli military operation in Rafah, which began in early May, and the killing of 45 Palestinian civilians in an Israeli airstrike on a tent camp in the city on Sunday, added another layer of complexity to efforts to reach a deal.
  • The White House sees a hostage deal as the only viable path to a ceasefire and the potential end to a war that has become a political problem for Biden ahead of the presidential election.

Driving the news: U.S. and Israeli officials said a meeting in Paris on Friday between CIA director Bill Burns, the director of Israel's Mossad and Qatar's prime minister made progress toward the possible resumption of Gaza hostage negotiations.

  • But Hamas officials in recent days said they won't resume negotiations if the Israel Defense Forces operation in Rafah doesn't stop or if Israel doesn't end the war.
  • Local health authorities in Gaza say more than 36,000 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7 when Hamas attacked Israel, killing about 1,200 people and taking 250 others hostage.

Behind the scenes: The written proposal, which was given to key mediators Qatar and Eypt, was detailed and expanded on the general principles that Mossad director David Barnea presented during the meeting in Paris last Friday, according to a source.

  • The updated Israeli proposal includes "a willingness to be flexible" regarding the number of living hostages that would be released in the first, humanitarian phase of the deal, as well as a willingness to discuss Hamas's demand for "sustainable calm" in the Gaza Strip, the source said.
  • "There is a new initiative and it is serious," a source with knowledge of the negotiations said.

What to watch: The Prime Minister of Qatar is expected to meet on Tuesday in Doha with Hamas representatives and share Israel's proposal to them.

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