April 28, 2024 | Flash Brief

Egypt Seeks Hostage Negotiations Breakthrough  

April 28, 2024 | Flash Brief

Egypt Seeks Hostage Negotiations Breakthrough  

Latest Developments 

Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel met his Israeli counterpart David Barnea on April 26 to continue deadlocked negotiations over a potential deal to free the hostages still in Hamas captivity.  

Reportedly, Israel is open to a possible deal in which Hamas releases 33 hostages in exchange for a six-week ceasefire, Egyptian officials told The Wall Street Journal. Recent reports suggest that terrorist groups in Gaza are still holding 129 of the 254 hostages that terrorists captured on October 7. The United States believes that as many as six Americans are still held hostage. 

Hamas released a video on April 27 ostensibly showing that two of the hostages – 64-year-old U.S.-Israeli dual citizen Keith Siegeland and 46-year-old Israeli citizen Omri Miran – remain alive. On April 25, Hamas released a video of the American-Israeli hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin who said he has been held captive for about 200 days and that he is “struggling to survive” and has been “without water, food or sun and without treatment” for months.  

Expert Analysis 

“It’s difficult to conceive of a deal favorable to Israel’s security interests absent Hamas perceiving Jerusalem will advance into Rafah. All attempts to hold Israel back from that operation undermines Israel’s negotiating position.” — Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor  

“Hamas must be feeling encouraged by the support it is receiving from the current unrest on American campuses. Moreso, with the prospect of International Criminal Court arrest warrants reportedly looming over Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials, Yahya Sinwar and Hamas have all the leverage they need to pursue a favorable outcome for the group and its allies in the Gaza Strip.” Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal  

U.S. Joins 17 Countries to Demand Hamas Release Hostages 

Eighteen countries whose citizens are still held hostage in Gaza issued a statement on April 25 calling for “the immediate release of all hostages held by Hamas in Gaza now for over 200 days.” The letter asserted that releasing the hostages would result in an “immediate and prolonged ceasefire in Gaza.” Signatories alongside the United States included Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.  

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said that the statement would not impact Hamas’s decision making, Reuters reported. Abu Zuhri stated that U.S. pressure upon Hamas “has no value.” 

Uncertainty Over Status of Hostages Complicates Negotiations 

The most recent negotiating framework included a six-week ceasefire, the release of some hostages held by Hamas, and the release of hundreds of Palestinian terrorist prisoners by Israel. However, uncertainty over the status of hostages held by Hamas has undermined international efforts to negotiate a ceasefire deal conditioned on releasing at least some Israeli hostages. Hamas has repeatedly refused to provide Israel with a list of the remaining hostages and has previously insisted that it would need all combat to cease before it is able to track down and assemble the hostages. Israel believes that 30 hostages have died of the remaining 133 hostages a number that includes four captured prior to October 7. 

Hamas Releases Video of American-Israeli Hostage,” FDD Flash Brief 

Hamas Says It Cannot Locate Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief 

Israel Demands Clarity from Hamas on Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief 


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