Media channels report that Hamas has agreed, in principle, to the following:
- Six-week pause in fighting.
- Release of 103 live hostages (return of all dead hostages- min. 29).
- Phase I 35-day initial truce release of 35 hostages — women, the elderly and the sick.
- Phase II-III will be negotiated separately (during each 35-day initial truce) to release the balance of living hostages by phase II.
- Phase III – the return of the deceased.
- Israel will likely never agree to the end the war nor leaving Gaza. Israel must retain complete security control of Gaza to thwart off further terror attacks. If not, this war was pointless, and Israel is far too smart to fall into this trap. Moreover, the PA cannot have any role in post Gaza.
- Both sides do not agree to the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released from Israeli jails nor the level of security risk. For the first truce Israel agreed to release three Hamas prisoners for every hostage. Now, Hamas is asking for far more prisoners. Recently, they requested that Marwan Barghouti be released who has spent 20 years in Israeli jails and is responsible for many terror attacks. This will not happen.
New outlets say Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas Chairman, who lives in Qatar, keeps demanding more changing the agreed upon deal. Whereas Hamas senior management in Gaza: Sinwar, Deif and Issa are favorable to the proposed truce and are tired of being on the run. By now, they must recognize the strength of the IDF and its determination to know their end is in sight. I predict in the next 60 days; the entire Hamas military infrastructure should be fully removed.
Another significant question arises concerning the mediation role of Qatar namely the Prime Minister. Doha has previous negotiating experience in the conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the PLO and Hamas, between Darfur rebels and the Sudanese government, between Houthi rebels and the Yemen government and in Lebanon.
According to a report on Qatar’s Foreign Policy, it openly states their support of the Muslim Brotherhood and related Islamist groups. Qatar and Iran have enjoyed political alliance for many years. During the Obama administration and Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2015, Qatar acted as a major supporter of JCPOA. Even as early as 1997, Qatar began urging Washington to ease its positions against Tehran.
As we know, all top three Hamas officials live in Qatar under their protection sheltering some $10bn – icing on the cake. Do you think this is an arm’s length negotiation? Can you really think a deal can be made with the gang of thugs whose interest is to destroy Israel?
As I write this blog, Hamas wants to extend the time frame of the cease fire from 45 days to 142 days. For what? This is just another ploy to hurt Israel. If they want to end this, then 6 weeks is more than enough time.
Hamas and Qatar are constantly moving the goal posts to see how far they can press Israel to obtain more concessions. Israel must stay firm with their military objectives to root out this threat and evil. We cannot do this dance twice. The harder we press, the faster we can achieve a truce and return of the hostages.
I heard the 1.5 million Gazans now in Rafah want to return to their homes up north. This will jeopardize the negotiations and put more Gazan civilians at greater risk creating further casualties on the Gazan side. This is a walking death trap for them and will inflame the situation to their detriment. It all comes down to what Hamas wants for Gaza – more deaths and injured for the Gazans or to leave and never come back (which is what the Gazans are chanting on the streets) to give Gazans a chance to open a new page to prove they want peace over their demise.