Israel To Send Delegation For Gaza Hostage Negotiations: Netanyahu

Netanyahu called a meeting of his security cabinet to discuss proposals sent by Hamas (File)

Tel Aviv, Israel:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday he has agreed to send a delegation for talks on securing the release of hostages seized in the October 7 attacks.

In a statement after telephone talks with US President Joe Biden, Netanyahu’s office said: “The prime minister updated President Biden about his decision to send a delegation that would continue negotiations for freeing the hostages.” 

There was no indication where the delegation would go or when it would leave.

In its own readout of the phone call, the White House said Biden welcomed the decision to have Israeli negotiators “engage” with mediators in a bid “to close out the deal”. 

Netanyahu called a meeting of his security cabinet for later Thursday to discuss new proposals sent by Hamas through Qatari mediators, media reports said.

Hamas has demanded an end to the fighting and an Israeli withdrawal as a prelude to any hostage deal.

Israel has countered that there can be no end to the war without the release of hostages in the Palestinian territory. Netanyahu has also repeatedly vowed that the Gaza campaign will not end until Hamas’s military and government capabilities have been destroyed.

Hamas said late Wednesday that it had sent new “ideas” for a potential deal and Netanyahu’s office said the government was “evaluating” them.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been mediating between the two sides and sources close to their efforts said there had been a renewed push to bridge the “gaps” between the foes in recent weeks.

Biden announced a pathway to a truce deal in May which he said had been proposed by Israel and which included a six-week truce to allow for talks and eventually a programme to rebuild devastated Gaza.

“There are important developments in the latest proposals with positive options for both sides,” said a diplomat briefed on the latest proposals. “This time the Americans are very serious about this.”

The war started with the October 7 attack on southern Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Hamas also seized 251 hostages, 116 of whom remain in Gaza including 42 the army says are dead.

Israel’s retaliatory offensive has killed at least 38,011 people, also mostly civilians, according to figures from the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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