Deal for a 5-Day Pause in Gaza Said to Be Close

It would be the longest freeze in combat operations since Israel-Hamas war began
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2023 1:30 AM CST
Deal for a 5-Day Pause in Gaza Said to Be Close
Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip walk through the flooded street after rainfall next to a U.N. displacement camp in the southern town of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Sunday, Nov. 19, 2023.   (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)

Sources tell the Washington Post the US is close to negotiating a deal between Israel and Hamas in which fighting in Gaza will pause for five days, and dozens of women and children currently being held hostage there by Hamas would be freed. The newspaper initially reported that a tentative agreement had already been reached, as other outlets including Reuters then reported, before issuing a correction clarifying that a deal is "close." In the wake of the original article, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had on Saturday night dismissed "a lot of incorrect reports" about a deal being imminent, saying there was no agreement "as of now."

According to the sources who spoke to the Post, the release of hostages could begin within days, and, if finalized, the tentative agreement would call for an initial 50 or more hostages to be freed. It's not clear how many of the 239 hostages Hamas is believed to be holding would ultimately be released, but the initial deal does not include any civilian men or Israeli military personnel, whether male or female. All parties would also agree, if the deal is confirmed, to pause all combat operations for five days, with overhead surveillance being used to ensure combat is indeed frozen. Humanitarian assistance to Gaza could then significantly increase. The prime minister of Qatar on Sunday said only "minor" "practical and logistical" hurdles must be overcome before the deal can be finalized, Politico reports. (Read more Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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