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Hostage deal close but not finalized, sources say

Washington — The U.S. believes a deal between Israel and Hamas to release hostages held by the terrorist group is close, a top national security adviser to President Biden said Sunday.

"Many areas of difference that previous previously existed have been narrowed," deputy national security adviser Jon Finer told "Face the Nation." "We believe we are closer than we have been to reaching a final agreement. But on an issue as sensitive as this and as challenging as this, the mantra that 'nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,' really does apply, and we do not yet have an agreement in place."

"We're going to continue working this directly and intensively behind the scenes with the goal of getting as many of these people home, including the Americans, who are held hostage there as we can as soon as we can," he said.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that a deal for the release 50 or more women and children being held hostage in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting had been tentatively agreed to, but the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied that an agreement was reached.

Qatar's prime minister said Sunday the remaining obstacles to a deal "are just practical and logistical," according to Reuters. Qatar has been involved in the mediation between Israel and Hamas.

"The deal is going through ups and downs from time to time throughout the last few weeks. But I think that you know I'm now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal that can bring the people safely back to their home," said Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.

Roughly 240 hostages are believed to have been taken during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Only four have been released, including two Americans.

Netanyahu told CBS News on Thursday that Israel was "closer" to a deal on securing the release of hostages, but said there would only be a temporary cease-fire "if we can get our hostages back."

When asked whether time is running out to secure their release, Finer said he wouldn't use that phrase, but said there is "a time imperative."

"We feel acutely that this should be done as soon as possible and we are putting pressure on the diplomacy to try to get this done," Finer said.

Finer said the matter is an "extraordinarily high priority for everyone" in the Biden administration, including the president, "who is personally engaged on this issue."


Although not a permanent ceasefire, and not all hostages will be released, it’ll be enough for now. Kudos to the Biden administration if they manage to pull this off.
If I was Hamas I'd hold five aside in public view, to be safely returned when Israel abides by its agreed cease fire, and of course, execution when Israel does not.
Puppycat23 · F
@Roundandroundwego A ceasefire means both Israel and Hamas agree to suspend aggressive actions, not just Israel. All you want is for hostages to be murdered and for Hamas to remain aggressive and continue this war.
sascha · F
Aside from the personal joy felt by family members of hostages, is there anything good about this?
sascha · F
@Puppycat23 All 238 of them should have been released in this deal.

Israel is releasing 150 convicted, homicidal criminals as part of the first stage, which shows they have learned nothing. Unless they are using Hamas and will go back to their pledge to destroy Hamas, this deal has ended their mission.
Puppycat23 · F
@sascha Obviously they aren’t going to stop getting rid of hamas, all those criminals will be included once they’re back in Gaza.
sascha · F
@Puppycat23 The majority of these criminals are from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. One of the initial 150 repeatedly stabbed a Jewish man in the street, last year.
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Puppycat23 · F
@jshm2 People who threw rocks at the IDF, went to Israel and stab civilians, or in this case murdered civilians as what happened on Oct. 7th and were caught and arrested for murder aren’t necessarily hostages. But go off I guess.
4meAndyou · F
Qatar is HARBORING Hamas leaders.
Puppycat23 · F
@4meAndyou True. It would be great if those hamas leaders were assassinated. But better to have Qatar help Israel negotiate with hamas rather than the Qarari government refusing to.

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