A deal for Hamas to launch hostages taken throughout its Oct. 7 assault on Israel could be the closest but and would require a multiday pause within the preventing in Gaza, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer mentioned.
“We are closer than we have been in quite some time, maybe closer than we have been since the beginning of this process to getting this deal done,” Finer mentioned Sunday in an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press. Negotiations “have clearly reached a very sensitive stage” after “significant progress” in latest days and hours, he mentioned on ABC’s This Week.
“We think it is possible, but it’s not done yet,” Finer informed NBC. A prisoner change involving Israel is among the many matters being mentioned, he mentioned.
President Joe Biden has backed Israel in opposing a cease-fire with Hamas, which guidelines Gaza and has been designated a terrorist group by the U.S. and the European Union. In distinction, a pause lasting a number of days could be essential to permit hostages to be safely moved out of the battlefield, Finer mentioned.
“We’re talking about pausing the fighting for a few days so we can get the hostages out,” Michael Herzog, Israel’s ambassador to the US, informed ABC. While Israel’s army operation to dismantle Hamas gained’t cease, “we are willing to go for a pause for a significant number of hostages if we have a deal,” he mentioned.
A pause would have the additional benefit of permitting stepped-up humanitarian support to Gaza residents, Finer mentioned on NBC.
“Having a deal that causes a pause in the fighting would make it easier to get more in faster,” he mentioned.
With Israel doubtlessly increasing fight operations into southern Gaza, the U.S.’s place stays that the Israeli army has a proper to pursue Hamas’s management whereas urging Israel to keep away from civilian casualties, Finer mentioned.
“There is a real concern because hundreds of thousands of residents of Gaza have fled now from the north to the south at Israel’s request,” Finer mentioned in an interview to air on CBS’s Face the Nation.
“We think that their operation should not go forward until those people, those additional civilians, have been accounted for in their military planning,” he mentioned. “So we will be conveying that directly to them and have been directly conveying that to them.”
Qatar has been mediating in hostage talks with Hamas, which the U.S. and the European Union have designated a terrorist group.
A spokeswoman for the White House’s National Security Council mentioned late Saturday there was no deal but after the Washington Post reported that Israel and Hamas had arrived at a tentative, US-brokered hostage settlement.
Finer mentioned the administration is fleshing out Biden’s warning on Saturday that “extremist” settlers who assault Palestinians within the West Bank danger being banned from acquiring US visas.
“We’re moving in that direction, and we’ll have more to say about that, I’m sure, in the coming days,” Finer mentioned on CBS.