And the final say on the truce in Gaza belongs to Hamas

Israel is ready to send a delegation to Cairo to discuss the truce and the release of 33 hostages. This was reported to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) by some Israeli and Egyptian officials, while Arab mediators are pressuring the Hamas jihadists to accept the terms of the ceasefire before an imminent military operation in Rafah which could take place within the next 72 hours . As such, Mossad chief David Barnea may travel to the Egyptian capital this week, Egyptian officials said, after Arab mediators presented Hamas with a deal over the weekend. The agreement provides for the release of hostages held by the group in exchange for a pause in the fighting. An Israeli official said this morning that Israel “may send a delegation depending on the progress of the negotiations.” Israel said that “the proposal represents the last chance to avoid a planned offensive against the city of Rafah” in southern Gaza, where it wants to neutralize the remaining Hamas military units.

While preparations for a possible offensive continue and there is talk of a truce, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again reiterated during a meeting with the families of the hostages held in Gaza that the idea of ​​interrupting the war before achieving all the objectives is completely out of the question: «The idea of ​​ending the war before achieving all our objectives is unacceptable. We will enter Rafah and annihilate all the Hamas battalions present there, with or without an agreement, to achieve total victory.” A senior leader of the Palestinian terrorist organization in an interview with the Quds network, which is close to Hamas, said that the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza is the best presented to Hamas in recent months, as it includes concessions from of Israel on various fronts. “The fact that Israel accepts the unconditional return of the displaced and abandons the idea that they will not be able to return is a positive sign,” the leader said, referring to the demand that Palestinians be allowed to return to the northern Gaza Strip . According to the usually well-informed Saudi TV channel Al Hadath, Hamas' response to the ceasefire proposal is expected by tomorrow evening. Channel 12 reports that Israel is willing to release 900 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for between 20 and 33 hostages, which would translate to between 27 and 45 prisoners per hostage. As the Times of Israel writes, “this goes beyond what Israel has offered previously.”

In March, he was willing to release 950 prisoners for 40 hostages, and in November, at the height of the ground campaign in Gaza, 240 prisoners for 105 hostages were finally released, 81 of whom were Israelis. According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) the proposal involves two phases: in the first phase, the release of at least 20 hostages within three weeks is envisaged, in exchange for an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners. The second phase, however, would include a ten-week ceasefire, during which Hamas and Israel would agree on a wider release of hostages and a prolonged pause in fighting, which could last up to a year. According to the WSJ, it is also expected that the duration of the first phase may be extended by one day for each additional hostage released. Although the political wing of Hamas initially responded positively, the WSJ reports that the terrorist organization “later expressed concerns about the proposed terms, complaining about the lack of an explicit reference to the end of the conflict.”

It is impossible to make predictions because in the past Hamas has pulled out of the negotiation at the last moment and it could do the same today because Hamas military leader Yaya Sinwar, always hidden underground in Gaza, has certainly listened to the words of Benjamin Netanyahu.