Stalled prisoner's deal talks: Israeli delegation returns from Cairo

News Bulletin Reports
2024-02-14 | 12:53
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Stalled prisoner's deal talks: Israeli delegation returns from Cairo
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3min
Stalled prisoner's deal talks: Israeli delegation returns from Cairo

Report by Amal Shehadeh, English adaptation by Yasmine Jaroudi
 
Despite initial optimism expressed by mediators in the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas following the first day of negotiations in Cairo, which discussed a draft agreement including a six-week ceasefire, the Israeli delegation does not anticipate a positive breakthrough in the near future.

Returning from Cairo prematurely, the Israeli delegation deemed Hamas' conditions unrealistic, halting negotiations scheduled to continue until Thursday.

However, before their departure, the delegation warned that the Israeli military would invade Rafah if an agreement is not reached soon, a move that raised concerns in Egypt.

The main point of contention in the negotiations revolves around the identity of the prisoners Hamas demands to release, as well as the ratio of three Palestinian prisoners for every Israeli hostage proposed by Tel Aviv.

Discussions focused on both Rafah and the Philadelphi Axis.

The Israeli delegation revealed Tel Aviv's desire to reach an understanding regarding the Philadelphi Axis, which delineates the Egyptian-Israeli border. Yet, it indirectly indicated waiting for the right time to launch the Rafah operation, an operation it refuses to abandon.

This sentiment was echoed by Israeli Chief of Staff, Herzi Halevi, whose remarks escalated tensions, primarily upon the delegation's return from Cairo.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to re-engage the delegation in negotiations, insisting that an immediate deal is no longer urgent as long as a prolonged ceasefire is maintained.

Netanyahu, along with his Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, is considering escalating airstrikes in Gaza under the belief that military pressure alone will subdue Hamas and lead to a more favorable deal for Israel.

This stance dismisses the demands of families and their supporters calling for an imminent deal that ensures the return of no more than a hundred Israeli coffins from Gaza instead of living captives, which they argue would signify a significant defeat for Israel.

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