Early indications show that hostage negotiation could move forward

Reliable sources tell Ynet that Hamas leaders based in Qatar renew communications with Sinwar after not being able to reach him and are told to discuss partial humanitarian deal

Itamar Eichner, Ron Ben Yishai|
Israeli officials are awaiting answers from the mediators in talks with Hamas over a possible release of hostages, after discussions were held Wednesday in Cairo with a delegation of senior members of the terror group. It appears that Hamas will back down from some of its demands and that negotiations will be able to begin in earnest toward a deal.
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Reliable sources told Ynet on Wednesday evening that the Hamas leadership based in Qatar had contact with the terror leaders in Gaza after a break in communications that caused delays in talks with the mediators in Egypt and in Qatar on a future agreement, because Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar could not be reached.
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חצי חצאים ביבי בנימין נתניהו יחיא סינוואר
חצי חצאים ביבי בנימין נתניהו יחיא סינוואר
Benjamin Netanyahu, Yahya Sinwar
(Photo: Dana Kopel, Reuters)
The message from Gaza is that negotiations should concentrate on a partial, "humanitarian," deal and not a comprehensive solution to the hostage crisis and the war. Hamas leaders in the Strip also said that the terror group was willing to consider lowering the number of Palestinian prisoners it is demanding in an exchange for hostages, reducing its demands for international assurances to rebuild Gaza, and a change in the demand for a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Strip and an end to the fighting.
Earlier, War Cabinet member Benny Gantz said there were initial signs of progress toward a new agreement. "I would like to assure the families of the hostages, who show such strength of spirit, that we are leaving no stone unturned to fulfil our mission, that the government is responsible for. There are attempts to advance a new outline, and initial signs that progress is possible," he said.
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גנץ: "יש סימנים שמעידים על אפשרות התקדמות במו"מ. ללא מתווה חטופים - נפעל גם ברמדאן ברפיח"
גנץ: "יש סימנים שמעידים על אפשרות התקדמות במו"מ. ללא מתווה חטופים - נפעל גם ברמדאן ברפיח"
Benny Gantz
(Photo: GPO)
Senior officials then quickly said they did not know what Gantz was basing his comments on and that there has been no response from mediators that show Hamas has backed down from any of its demands.
The officials said that if there is no change in the Hamas position, Israel would not send a delegation to the next Paris summit scheduled for Saturday, with the participation of CIA director William Burns, Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani and Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel.
Saudi Arabian news channel Al Arabiya reported on Wednesday that talks with the Hamas representatives began in Cairo, but the group warned that any Israeli military assault on Rafah would affect the negotiations.
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