NewsIs an agreement on hostages near? The White House weighs in

Is an agreement on hostages near? The White House weighs in

Demonstration in Tel Aviv. Protesters demanded the release of hostages.
Demonstration in Tel Aviv. Protesters demanded the release of hostages.
Images source: © GETTY | Anadolu Agency
12:13 PM EST, November 19, 2023

On Saturday, The Washington Post, drawing from reliable sources, reported a prospective agreement being close at hand, involving Israel, Hamas, and the USA, to release women and children held as hostages in Gaza. This would be in exchange for a five-day ceasefire. The White House made a comment on the publication soon after.

According to The Washington Post on Saturday, Israel, the United States, and Hamas are nearly concluding an agreement. The terms would include the release of women and children held hostage in Gaza in return for a five-day ceasefire.

Based on The Washington Post's sources, the parties are "drawing close to an agreement, where several women and children residing as hostages in the Gaza Strip would be liberated, in return for an enforced five-day ceasefire". The sources in the publication highlight that the process of releasing the hostages could commence shortly.

The White House responds

A spokesperson from The White House commented on the published article on Saturday evening. They clarified that an agreement related to the release of hostages and a short-term ceasefire had not yet been finalized between Israel and Hamas.

According to the spokesperson, the United States continues its efforts to arrive at an agreement between the two parties.

Negotiations under Qatar's supervision

President Joe Biden's principal Middle East advisor expressed on Saturday that any substantial cessation in the Israel-Hamas conflict would not occur until all women and children held captive by terrorists in Gaza have been set free.

"Enhanced humanitarian aid, escalated fuel provisions, any cessation... these will all follow only after the liberation of the hostages," stated Brett McGurk at a security conference in Bahrain.

He further elaborated that releasing "all the women, children, toddlers, and infants" would lead to a "meaningful pause... complemented with a substantial inflow of humanitarian aid".

McGurk indicated that President Biden had a conversation regarding this issue on Friday evening with the Emir of Qatar, who is currently heading mediation efforts for a ceasefire and the release of hostages.

The White House relayed that during their conversation, Biden and Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, discussed "the urgent imperative to liberate all hostages detained by Hamas without any further delay".

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