By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation
Israel is proposing a two-month ceasefire with Hamas in exchange for the release of all remaining hostages in the Gaza Strip, two Israeli officials told Axios Monday.
Israel and Hamas have been in a months-long war in Gaza after the group launched a terrorist attack against the country on Oct. 7, killing over 1,200 civilians dead and kidnapping hundreds of others. Through Qatari and Egyptian negotiators, Israel is now offering Hamas a temporary two-month ceasefire and the release of an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the more than 130 remaining hostages in Gaza, two Israeli officials told Axios.
Israel is waiting on Hamas to respond to the deal, but internally, there’s cautious optimism that it will move forward soon, the officials told Axios. Although the deal doesn’t include an offer to permanently end the war, it would be the longest pause in the conflict between Israel and Hamas since Oct. 7.
It would see the release of remaining hostages in two phases, focusing on first securing women, elderly men and those with urgent medical needs, the officials told Axios. It would also include a term to lower the scope of military operations in Gaza after the two-month ceasefire concludes.
Israel and Hamas had previously agreed to a temporary ceasefire in November and December, but it ended after a week because Hamas “violated” the terms of the agreement.
The Biden administration welcomes a deal that would include a pause in fighting for the release of the remaining hostages, White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby said on Monday. The Biden administration has been at odds with Israel as to how the war in Gaza should be carried out, expressing concern on several occasions at the humanitarian impact it has on the region.
Brett McGurk, President Joe Biden’s advisor to the Middle East arrived in Egypt on Sunday for talks with negotiators on efforts to free the hostages, according to Axios. He will continue to Qatar this week for similar discussions with negotiators.
The White House and Israel’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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