Israeli PM tells cabinet captives deal is 'right decision'

AFP , Tuesday 21 Nov 2023

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet Tuesday that accepting a deal for the release of captives taken in the Hamas attacks of October 7 was "a difficult decision but it's a right decision".

Protest in Israel
File Photo: Israelis gather with signs calling for a ceasefire during a protest for the release of captives in Tel Aviv on October 28, 2023. AP


US President Joe Biden had helped "improve the framework being laid out before you... to include more hostages at a lower price", he told his cabinet as it met to vote on the deal.

"The entire security establishment fully supports it."

The captives' families have demanded that Israel should insist on the return of all those being held, and the Religious Zionist party, which is part of Netanyahu's coalition government, has voiced opposition to the deal, denouncing it as "bad" for Israel's security, for the captives and soldiers.

Sources from Hamas and Islamic Jihad told AFP on condition of anonymity that the tentative agreement would include a five-day truce, comprised of a complete ceasefire on the ground and an end to Israeli air operations over Gaza, except in the north, where they would only halt for six hours daily.

Under the deal, which the sources said could yet change, between 50 and 100 Israeli and dual-national civilians would be released in exchange for some 300 Palestinian women and children currently held in Israeli jails.

"It will allow the IDF to prepare for a continuation of the fight -- the war is ongoing, and it will continue until we achieve all of our objectives: destroying Hamas and bringing back all the hostages," Netanyahu said.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online

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