The Washington Post reported Saturday night (in Israel, Sunday morning) that a tentative deal had been reached in which there would be a five-day pause in fighting in Gaza in exchange for the release of at least 50 female and child hostages by Hamas.
No men would be released under the deal, and no male or female soldiers, according to the Post, which cited unnamed officials describing an agreement brokered by the U.S. and Qatar as intermediaries between Israel and the Hamas terror organization.
The Post reported:
Israel, the United States and Hamas have agreed to a tentative deal that would free dozens of women and children held hostage in Gaza, in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting.
The release, which could begin within the next several days — barring last-minute hitches — could lead to the first sustained pause in conflict in Gaza, according to people familiar with its provisions.
Under the terms of a detailed, six-page agreement, all parties to the conflict would freeze combat operations for at least five days while an initial 50 or more hostages are released in smaller batches every 24 hours. It was not immediately clear how many of the 239 people believed to be in captivity in Gaza would be released under the deal. Overhead surveillance would monitor movement on the ground to police the pause.
Israel has declared that its mission is to destroy Hamas and to kill all of its leaders and terrorists, while at the same time doing everything possible, including negotiating indirectly with Hamas, to secure the release of nearly 240 hostages still in captivity.
Thousands of protesters arrived in Jerusalem yesterday after marching, alongside many families of the hostages, for five days from Tel Aviv to demand a meeting with the government and to push for the release of the hostages. Though the demonstrators understand that Hamas, not the Israeli government, is responsible for the captivity of the hostages, they want to make sure the government is doing everything possible, and to know that they themselves are doing the utmost to free their loved ones.