A battle of numbers and demands to reach a truce in Gaza

A battle of numbers and demands to reach a truce in Gaza

JerusalemThe proposed versions of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, which could be close according to national and international media, vary widely depending on who is presenting them. On the other hand, Hamas confirmed that it is considering a proposal for a truce to stop the fighting and exchange an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for all Israeli hostages, according to Egyptian sources. But he also said publicly that the plan must necessarily go through “the complete withdrawal of the occupation forces from the Gaza Strip.” On Wednesday, a delegation from the Islamic Group will meet in Cairo with the head of Egyptian intelligence, Abbas Kamel, to discuss the plan, which will be implemented in three stages: first to liberate civilians, then the soldiers, and finally the bodies. Of the dead kidnappers.

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On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that his country will not withdraw its army from Gaza and will not release “thousands of terrorists.” He stressed, “None of this will happen. What will happen? Absolute victory!” But multiple media outlets reported that Israel agreed, during a meeting in Paris last Sunday, to a ceasefire that includes the gradual return of the hostages and will allow the release of “a large number of Palestinian prisoners,” according to the newspaper. The Times of Israel.

Israeli TV Channel 12 reported that the Israeli offer means a cessation of fighting for 45 days, in exchange for the release of 35 to 40 hostages in the first stage, and between 100 to 250 Palestinian prisoners will be released for each hostage. For his part, he said: Washington Post He said that the truce would last for six weeks and would mean the release of one kidnapped person for every three Palestinian prisoners.

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“We have heard of ratios of three prisoners for every kidnapper, or five prisoners for every hostage, but it is not reasonable to talk about numbers now. We have seen all kinds of deals. Even the all-for-all exchange in 1949.” “The price of the agreement is a matter of negotiation,” says former Israeli intelligence chief Ephraim Lapid.

Speaking to ARA, the former brigadier general expressed “optimism” that a ceasefire could be possible “in the coming days or weeks” but warned that at this time, it is necessary to distinguish between political leaders’ public positions on both sides and the actual talks taking place in secret. “It's all a theatrical piece, and it's also very influenced by social media and media Fake news“, confirms the expert who works as a professor at Bar-Ilan University.

Lapid points out, for example, that the complete disappearance of Hamas, one of Israel's ultimate goals, is “impossible.” He added: “We did not know the full extent of Hamas's tunnel network and its ability to resist and rule from underground. So the goal that was set in the political arena has now turned into an attempt to weaken Hamas as much as possible, at least.” He adds: “In the highest military ranks.”

Lapid also considers “stupid steps” the proposals and demands of the Israeli far right, which is part of Netanyahu’s government, to maintain long-term military control over the Gaza Strip, and force Gazans to emigrate and build Jewish settlements in the Strip. “The government’s official statement is that it will not rule the region and will not Building settlements,” recalls the expert, who prefers a solution in which the Palestinian National Authority would control the sector, in which Hamas would be greatly weakened.

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different opinions

But not all experts agree with this prediction. Analyst Harel Shorev from the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University believes that “the chances of reaching an agreement are not very high.” “The differences are very large,” says Shorev, who warns that Netanyahu cannot afford to make any deal, for two reasons: “Most Israelis, according to opinion polls, support continuing the war” and “if he accepts a deal that will replace it.” If he eliminates the possibility of ending Hamas, its far-right partners will leave the government and its executive apparatus will collapse. “Also, even if there is an agreement, I think it will break, and it will not last forever,” adds Shorev, who believes that Israel cannot accept the survival of Hamas, although he does not rule out a deal that maintains the forces in the Strip and at the same time facilitates the return of the hostages, Without releasing the “most severe terrorists.”

Shorev also differs from Lapid regarding Hamas' ability to withstand an Israeli military attack. The analyst says: “The war has only been four months and we have already witnessed a 50% decline in Hamas’ combat capability,” noting that the organization has been severely affected, as a large part of its military infrastructure has been destroyed. The number of rockets it launches is decreasing, and people are being killed or wounded. Hundreds of militiamen, and the Israeli army occupies northern Gaza and the city of Khan Yunis. He says: “Hamas may collapse within days.” Lapid asserts that “Hamas suffered a lot, but it was not destroyed, and it still possesses missiles and the ability to resist.” In any case, the end of the war is still far away.

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