Israel ready to accept release of fewer than 40 prisoners

Israel is ready to reduce its demand for Hamas to release 40 prisoners in exchange for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza after the Palestinian movement refused an offer prepared by Qatari, Egyptian, and US negotiators.

According to the paper, Israel is now willing to accept the release of just 20 prisoners in the first phase of the deal as long as those released are women, men over 50 years old and those seriously ill. The earlier proposal included the release of 40 prisoners in those categories, but Hamas said it did not hold that many prisoners in those categories who were still alive.

Meanwhile, Israel’s war cabinet on Thursday authorized the country’s negotiating team to discuss a more flexible approach with the Egyptian delegation that will arrive in Tel Aviv on Friday for additional talks, the Times of Israel wrote.

In early April, negotiators gave the parties to the conflict a new proposal on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, which is supposed to be implemented in three steps. The first step involves Hamas releasing 40 Israeli prisoners held in Gaza in exchange for the release of 900 Palestinian hostages, including 100 sentenced for life.

Other points of the potential agreement reportedly include bringing back displaced persons to the northern part of the enclave, and the daily passage of 500 lorries carrying humanitarian aid.

News ID 197513

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