12:26 pm Eastern Time, December 1, 2023
If Hamas provides an adequate list of hostages for release, sources say hostilities would stop
From CNN’s Alex Marquardt, MJ Lee and Arlette Saenz
As fighting resumes in the war between Israel and Hamas, both sides continue to negotiate through mediators over the possible release of Gaza hostages, which would trigger another pause in hostilities, three sources familiar with the discussions said.
The negotiating parties (Israel and Hamas, in consultation with Qatar, the United States and Egypt) are still actively discussing the release of the rest of the women hostages, one of the sources said.
According to those sources, it is understood that a list of Hamas captives that Israel finds acceptable would restore the truce. Israel believes there are 20 women and two children under 18 still held hostage, the prime minister’s office said Friday, out of a total of 137 hostages.
If what is presumed to be the last remaining group of female civilians were successfully freed, the parameters of negotiations would quickly shift to other categories of hostages: male civilians as well as military reservists, both male and female, the sources said.
Some background: In the course of negotiations that continued into the early hours of Friday and past the truce deadline, Hamas failed to present a list of hostages that Israeli officials could accept, the sources said. In particular, one source said, there has been a back-and-forth over Hamas’ claims that some of the women it holds captive are soldiers, which Israel rejects.
Hamas has previously argued that women under 45 should be considered reservists and not civilians, according to a person familiar with the talks. Most of the women still kidnapped are under 45 years old, according to the Hostage and Missing Families Forum.
Hamas has claimed that it has no more women and children in its custody to release, suggesting that those remaining may be in the hands of other groups. Under the previous agreement, Hamas had to release 10 women and children hostages for each day of the truce, and three Palestinians released from Israeli prisons for each hostage.