November 21, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Poised for Possible Recovery of Some Hostages

November 21, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Poised for Possible Recovery of Some Hostages

Latest Developments

Israel will convene its top government decision-making bodies on the evening of November 21 as a possible deal to recover some Gaza hostages. The war cabinet, national security cabinet, and full government were due to hold back-to-back evening meetings “in light of developments on the issue of the release of our hostages,” an official statement said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was “making progress” regarding a resolution to the crisis around the fate of some 240 people taken hostage by Hamas in the October 7 cross-border rampage by the Palestinian terrorist group. “I hope there will be good news soon,” he said.

Hamas said any such deal would entail a truce in the now almost seven-week-old Gaza war.

According to media reports, citing officials involved in the Qatari- and Egyptian-mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas, 50 hostages — most likely children, some women, and possibly the elderly — will be released in stages, with a reciprocal freeing of scores of Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails.

For the five-day course of the exchange, Israel will hold fire in Gaza and, for several hours each day, will also cease aerial surveillance of the Palestinian enclave, the reports said. In possible follow-up deals, Israel will offer additional days of quiet in exchange for smaller batches of freed hostages, the reports said — though it remains unclear how many of the 240 are alive and how many are in Hamas hands rather than those of other Palestinian factions.

Expert Analysis

“This is a critical humanitarian event that will have ramifications for Israel’s further prosecution of the Gaza war. For entirely understandable reasons, Israel is relenting on its past refusal to weigh a pause in fighting of more than a few hours; the pressure to retrieve the most vulnerable of these hostages is too great. But a downstream effect of their return, and of all sides adjusting to the sudden quiet in Gaza, may be an erosion in some Western support for Israel continuing the war to destroy Hamas when the deal expires. Israel needs to reach new understandings — right now — in Washington, London, Berlin, and Paris to continue eliminating Hamas.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Hamas, Iran, and Qatar have used their own inhumanity to leverage Israel’s humanity. None deserves praise for this deal; they all have American blood on their hands. Every hostage saved is welcome news. But we must be clear-eyed that if a temporary ceasefire becomes a permanent ceasefire, Hamas and Iran will emerge victorious with a guarantee of many more October 7s to come.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Hamas Took Hostages to Al-Shifa Hospital,” FDD Flash Brief

Remains of Two Israeli Hostages Recovered from Near Shifa Hospital,” FDD Flash Brief

Gaza Hospital Basement Used to Confine Hostages, Israel Finds,” FDD Flash Brief


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