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Half of Israelis Oppose Proposed Hostage Deal With Hamas

(JNS) Fifty percent of Israelis are opposed to a hostage deal that would see an extended pause in fighting in Gaza and the release of thousands of Palestinian terrorists, according to a snap poll conducted by Israel’s Channel 12 on Tuesday, Jan. 30.

Just 35% overall support the terms of the potential agreement, with the rest undecided.

The proposal reportedly under consideration would see the phased release of all 136 Israeli hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza. The first stage would include the freeing of women and children, as well as men over 60 years of age and captives who are wounded or sick, totaling some 35 to 40 people. There would be a 45-day halt to combat operations in the Strip during the initial stage. In addition, thousands of Palestinian terrorists, including murderers, would be released from Israeli prisons.

In the second phase, male soldiers and civilians under 60 would be released, while in the third stage, Hamas would release bodies.

These stages would come in exchange for a ceasefire of as-yet-undetermined length, along with the release of more Palestinian security prisoners.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Israel has agreed to parts of the proposal while Hamas was considering it, citing officials familiar with the negotiations.

According to the Post report, all civilian hostages would be released over an initial six-week period, with soldiers and bodies returned in subsequent stages. Three Palestinian terrorists would be released from Israeli jails for every hostage freed by Hamas.

The agreement also includes “a temporary repositioning of Israeli troops away from high-population areas of Gaza.”

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday pledged not to free large numbers of Palestinian terrorists or withdraw troops from Gaza as part of any hostage deal with Hamas.

“I hear talk about all kinds of deals. I would like to make it clear: We will not conclude this war without achieving all of its goals. This means eliminating Hamas, returning all of our hostages and ensuring that Gaza never again constitutes a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu said.

Qatar-based Hamas political bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday that the terrorist group would study a proposal received following talks in Paris on Sunday, adding that he would visit Cairo to discuss the initiative.

Haniyeh said that the priority for Hamas is an end to Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and a withdrawal of all troops from the coastal enclave. The demand to end the war runs counter to Israel’s stated goal of destroying the terrorist group.

The proposal on the table also reportedly calls for a massive increase in humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, something the Israeli public is overwhelmingly against, according to the Channel 12 survey.

Hamas is stealing much of the aid intended for Gazan civilians and redirecting it to terrorists hiding in tunnels.

 

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