A delegation led by the Mossad chief leaves for extended Hamas hostage negotiations.


Mossad Director David Barnea, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar, and IDF Maj. Gen. (res.) Hostage Coordinator Nitzan Alon are currently en route to further negotiate a potential hostage deal with Hamas.

A senior diplomatic official told The Jerusalem Post that the negotiations would take at least two weeks, if not more.

The official explained that this is the first time since the current round of negotiations started that the negotiating team has more specific positions and discretion to finalize a variety of items in the deal.

Despite the negotiating team receiving a larger mandate to seal a deal than it had in past rounds, when the team had at best received approved general principles for a deal, there are still some issues about which the cabinet has not given its final opinion, said the official.

The official also said that the negotiations were still through Qatar, but have reached a clearer direct point with Gaza Chief Yahya Sinwar himself, with less confusion and interference from Hamas’s Qatar leadership, which currently have less influence on the terms of a final deal.

Part of the reason the deal will take longer is that each time some new issue will need to be decided by Sinwar, it will take 24-36 hours to reach him from his tunnel hideout, said the official.

In addition, the general terms of around 42 days of ceasefire for 40 hostages was confirmed by the official.

The terms still in dispute are exactly which Palestinian security prisoners will be released and what concession Israel will make upfront regarding any partial return of some Palestinians to northern Gaza and any partial withdrawal of IDF forces from certain spots during the ceasefire.

The official said that the negotiations are expected to be excruciating, requiring very painful sacrifices from Israel.


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