March 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Demands Clarity from Hamas on Hostages

March 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Demands Clarity from Hamas on Hostages

Latest Developments

Hamas is holding up negotiations by being unclear about the number of hostages that would go free under a possible Gaza truce, Israeli officials said on March 2. Egyptian media said mediated ceasefire talks would resume in Cairo on March 3, but Israel denied this.

According to Jerusalem, Hamas has yet to provide a formal account of the approximately 40 hostages who would be the first released if a deal goes ahead — including whether they are still alive. Nor has Hamas made clear how many Palestinian terrorists it would want to see freed from Israeli jails in exchange for each hostage. Absent that information, Israel will not be sending out negotiators again, Jerusalem sources said on March 2.

A mid-level Israeli delegation had returned from Doha, Qatar on February 29, where it established understandings with Qatari counterparts about a proposed step-by-step process of eventually swapping Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners. Yet in the absence of clarity from Hamas, such an agreement could not be implemented.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas is open about its outrageous assertions concerning the number of hostages supposedly killed in Israeli air strikes — yet, of course, silent on the likelihood that some captors murdered their hostages. Apparently, Hamas cannot conduct a basic tally that would allow another humanitarian deal to proceed. The terrorist group is either woefully inept, as it flees the Israeli offensive, or is sadistically drawing out these negotiations in hopes of mobilizing international pressure on Israel. Qatar and Egypt’s credibility are at stake here. They must bring Hamas to heel.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Hamas is negotiating from a weak position. The Israeli military has destroyed most of Hamas’s battalions, with the remaining ones left in Gaza. Despite this, Hamas will attempt to prolong the negotiations and the war, hoping that international pressure will push Israel to agree to an early and lasting ceasefire and thus ensuring that Hamas will remain in power.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

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Israel: Discussion of Hostage Crisis ‘Constructive,’ But ‘Significant Gaps’ Remain,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Demands Qatari Action on Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief


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