Balancing Act: Israel's Diplomatic and Military Strategies Towards a Prisoner Exchange

News Bulletin Reports
2024-02-21 | 09:19
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Balancing Act: Israel's Diplomatic and Military Strategies Towards a Prisoner Exchange
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3min
Balancing Act: Israel's Diplomatic and Military Strategies Towards a Prisoner Exchange

Report by Amale Chehade, English adaptation by Nadine Sassine 

Cautious optimism prevails in Israel regarding the possibility of reaching a prisoner exchange deal, contributing to lowering tensions related to the Rafah and al-Aqsa issues.

For the first time in weeks, Israelis are discussing the possibility of success in new US efforts led by CIA Director William Burns and President's Middle East Advisor Brett McGurk, aimed at accelerating the implementation of a US plan focused on resolving the hostages crisis and ensuring a long-term ceasefire, ultimately leading to the crystallization of a post-war plan.

With McGurk's anticipated talks in Tel Aviv, the Israeli Cabinet is considering the prisoner exchange deal a top priority for the first time in a long while.

Indications of a potential breakthrough in the deal include the disclosure of medicines reaching the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza amidst intense efforts and pressures exerted by Egypt and Qatar to overcome obstacles.

According to Israelis, negotiations are progressing on crucial points, including:

-         The equation of the number of Palestinian prisoners exchanged for each Israeli prisoner in the first phase of this deal.

-         The duration of the ceasefire accompanying the return of prisoners from Gaza. Israelis state that negotiations include discussions on the withdrawal of the army from some areas of the Gaza Strip.

-         Israelis also assert that the US administration is intensifying its efforts to reach a deal before the beginning of Ramadan.

Contrary to diplomatic efforts, the military intensifies its operations in Khan Yunis and other areas in a race against time before McGurk's talks in Tel Aviv, aiming, according to sources, to decide on the attack on Rafah, in line with the US plan seeking to complete the prisoner exchange deal and prevent the ignition of the Al-Aqsa crisis during Ramadan.

All of this coincides with questions raised by Israeli officials, most notably: In the event of a decision to attack Rafah, does Israel ensure that Hamas leaders and its members do not leave the city during the evacuation of its one million and four hundred thousand inhabitants among the large crowds?

A question that makes efforts to reach a prisoner exchange deal a means to retreat from invading Rafah and avoiding drowning in its quagmire before Ramadan.

News Bulletin Reports

Isrel

Palestine

Gaza

Rafah

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