A picture taken from a position in southern Israel along the border with the Gaza Strip on January 19, 2024, shows an Israeli tank rolling along the fence as damaged buildings are see in the Gaza strip amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas.
Jack Guez | Afp | Getty Images
Negotiations over the Israel-Hamas war are zeroing in on a cease-fire deal of one to two months in exchange for all remaining Israeli hostages being held captive in Gaza, according to sources who spoke to NBC News and Reuters.
Israel has proposed a two-month pause in fighting in exchange for the more than 130 hostages still held by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip, one Israeli government official, who remained anonymous in order to speak freely, told NBC News. A second Israeli official said that more than 25 of the hostages are dead, but that Israel is demanding Hamas release the bodies.
Reuters, meanwhile, cited three anonymous officials saying that Israel and Hamas “broadly agree in principle that an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners could take place during a month-long ceasefire,” without mentioning which countries the officials represent.
The continued barrier to progress in the discussions is a disagreement over how to end the Gaza war permanently, the officials added.
The reports come amid devastating Israeli bombardment of Gaza and what has so far been an impasse in talks, which are being driven by negotiators from Qatar, Egypt and the U.S.
Hamas officials have so far refused to come to an agreement that does not include a permanent cease-fire, a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip and the release of more Palestinian prisoners, NBC News reported Tuesday.
Some of the prisoners that Hamas wants released took part in the terror attack of Oct. 7, Israeli officials say, which killed some 1,200 people in Israel and took 240 hostage. In the roughly 3½ months since, Israel’s land and air offensive has destroyed much of the Gaza Strip, displaced roughly 90% of Gaza’s population and killed more than 25,000 people in the besieged enclave, according to Hamas-run health authorities there.