US President Joe Biden, when asked about the status of the hostage deal at a meeting held in Tel Aviv on Monday night, said that he believed it was close to completion. However, following the war cabinet’s gathering with family representatives of the hostages, no deal was publicly announced, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commitment to continue efforts to bring the captives home.
Representatives of the US State Department have disclosed that negotiations on the matter have been extremely intense, involving President Biden and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Moreover, Qatar has been involved as a mediator in the talks, with the unconfirmed deal reportedly focusing on the release of a limited number of hostages, particularly women and children.
The war cabinet revealed that a crucial issue has been Hamas’s request for a temporary pause in the fighting, which Israel has been hesitant to agree to. However, the US National Security Council spokesperson emphasized that a temporary ceasefire would be necessary for the safe transfer of hostages out of Gaza.
Meanwhile, as the conflict continues, Israel has faced criticism for its military actions, particularly regarding the Palestinian death toll in Gaza. However, US officials have defended Israel’s actions, with the stance that Hamas is the party seeking genocide, not Israel.
In the midst of the ongoing crisis, efforts are also being made to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza. An urgent medical evacuation of prematurely born babies from Gaza to Egypt took place, while the World Health Organization has condemned the attack on a hospital in Gaza, resulting in the deaths of both patients and staff.
As tensions remain high and efforts continue to secure the release of those held captive by Hamas, the situation in the region remains complex and concerning.