Hamas' Offer To Release 33 Israeli Hostages Also Includes Those Dead

The war began after an assault by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7.

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has agreed to a three-phased deal for a ceasefire and hostages-for-prisoners swap. However, the group informed negotiators that not all hostages who would be freed in the first phase are still living.

As per the proposed three-phase ceasefire deal, Hamas will free 33 Israeli hostages, alive or dead, in return for Israel releasing 30 children and women for each released Israeli hostage, based on lists provided by Hamas according to the earliest date of detention.

Hamas on Monday said it accepts a proposal for a truce in the seven-month-old war in Gaza. The announcement brought cheering crowds onto the street.

In the first phase, Hamas will release three Israeli hostages on the third day of the agreement, and then release three more hostages every seven days, prioritising women if possible, including civilians and conscripts, according to the proposal.

In the sixth week, Hamas will release all remaining civilian hostages covered by this phase. In exchange, Israel will release the agreed number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, according to the lists that will be provided by Hamas.

On the third day after releasing the first Palestinian prisoners, the Israeli forces will completely withdraw from al-Rashid street in northern Gaza, and all military sites will be dismantled.

On the 22nd day of the first phase, Israeli forces will withdraw from the centre of the strip, east of Salah al-Din road to an area near the Israeli border.

In phase two, the group has proposed to release Israeli reservists and some soldiers in return for Israel releasing Palestinians from jail.

Phase three would see the completion of exchanging bodies and starting the implementation of reconstruction according to the plan overseen by Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations.

An Israeli official, meanwhile, has said the deal was not acceptable to Israel because terms had been “softened”, reported Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said the proposal “is far from Israel’s essential demands”, but the government will send negotiators for talks “to exhaust the potential for arriving at an agreement”.

Hamas member Khalil al-Hayya told the Qatar-based Al Jazeera channel the proposal also includes a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza with the goal of a “permanent ceasefire”.

Netanyahu has vowed to send ground troops into Rafah regardless of any truce, defying international concerns.

In the statement responding to Hamas’s announcement, Netanyahu’s office also said the Rafah offensive will go ahead “to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to advance the release of our hostages”.

Netanyahu has rejected Hamas demands for an end to the Gaza war in exchange for the freeing of hostages, saying that would keep the Palestinian Islamist group in power and pose a threat to Israel.

The war began after an assault by Hamas on southern Israel on October 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and 252 hostages taken, according to Israeli tallies.