- The Washington Post reported Saturday that Israel and Hamas are inching closer to agreeing on a US-brokered deal to free dozens of women and children held hostage in the Gaza Strip in exchange for a five-day pause in hostilities.1
- The newspaper claimed the deal would see all parties freeze fighting while at least 50 hostages are released in smaller groups every 24 hours under overhead surveillance.2
- Though the White House denied the Post's report, Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer said on Sunday that negotiations had been 'narrowed' and that a deal is 'closer' than ever. He warned, however, that 'Sensitive negotiations like this can fall apart at the last minute.'3
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also dismissed the report, saying there was no deal between the two sides 'as of now.' However, he added: 'We're doing the utmost to bring back the most [hostages] possible, including in stages.'4
- Meanwhile, the Qatari prime minister insisted that 'the deal is going through ups and downs' and only 'practical and logistical' challenges remain to be resolved before an agreement can be reached.5
- In other news, all 31 premature babies have been evacuated from the al-Shifa Hospital — which the World Health Organization has described as a 'death zone' — and will be transferred to Egypt, Palestinian health officials said Sunday.6
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Al Jazeera. Though the Israel Defense Forces are getting closer to the hostages, a tactical assault on Hamas to free the captives could lead to the deaths of many Israelis. Tel Aviv doesn't have the mandate to make its people collateral damage in the war against Hamas. It must do whatever it takes to bring its citizens home immediately, including a prisoner exchange or a temporary ceasefire, which will also see much-needed aid reach Gaza.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by The Times of Israel. While freeing hostages is of the utmost important, Israel must not succumb to international pressure. Hamas has a history of forcing unfair deals, and if entered into carelessly, it could use the ceasefire to regroup and rearm itself and perpetuate its dominance in Gaza. Any negotiation with the terrorists could be destructive to Israel's future, which is why it must proceed cautiously.