White House seeks Israel-Hamas hostage deal in ‘next days’ — Netanyahu says ‘too early to tell’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday played down expectations about the timing of a potential hostage deal with Hamas, while the White House expressed hope that a deal would take shape in the coming days.

“Hamas started with just crazy demands. It is too early to say whether they have abandoned them,” Netanyahu told CBS “Face the Nation.”

“But if they leave them and enter what you call the stadium – they’re not even in the city. They’re on another planet – but if they get to a sane state, then yes, we’ll have hostages.”

During a meeting Friday in Paris, negotiators from Israel, Egypt, Qatar and the US made progress on a new hostage deal that would free dozens of Hamas hostages in exchange for several hundred Palestinian prisoners from Israel and a temporary pause. Fire.

Progress on the new deal has given the White House renewed hope that a final deal could emerge as soon as this week.

“It’s still under negotiation in terms of hashing out the details,” National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” adding that Qatar and Egypt have yet to discuss the proposal with Hamas.

“We hope that in the coming days, we will be able to drive to a point where there is essentially a firm and final agreement on this matter.”

Meanwhile, the Israel Defense Forces are finalizing details to evacuate civilians and launch an offensive on Rafah, a southern city where more than half of Gaza’s population has taken refuge. Netanyahu said a meeting is scheduled for Sunday to discuss the IDF’s Rafa plan.

Netanyahu said that while he hoped the hostage deal could go through, Israel was planning military operations should the deal collapse. He said the hostage deal and the accompanying temporary ceasefire would delay the attack on Rafah.

“If we have an agreement, it will be delayed somewhat, but it will happen,” Netanyahu said. “If we don’t have an agreement, we will do it anyway. It has to be done, because overall victory is our goal.”

Read the original at Defence247.gr

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