January 22, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Offers Two-Month Pause in Fighting in Exchange for Hostages

January 22, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israel Offers Two-Month Pause in Fighting in Exchange for Hostages

Latest Developments

Israel is offering Hamas a two-month pause in fighting in exchange for the terrorist group’s release of all hostages, Israeli officials said on January 22. The proposal, which Qatari and Egyptian mediators are delivering to Hamas, does not require Israel to permanently end its counteroffensive against Hamas in Gaza — one of Hamas’s previous demands. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on January 21 that Israel will not “surrender” to the terrorist group’s terms. “If we agree to this, then our warriors fell in vain. If we agree to this, we will not be able to guarantee the security of our citizens,” Netanyahu said.

Expert Analysis

“Hamas’s patrons in Doha are pushing for a permanent ceasefire that would leave the terror organization intact in Gaza in exchange for the Israeli hostages. Israel is not likely to accept a deal that allows the architects of October 7 to fight another day, especially when the IDF believes it is closing in on Hamas leadership, who are likely hiding amongst Israeli hostages in the warren of tunnels below southern Gaza.” — Enia Krivine, Senior Director of FDD’s Israel Program and National Security Network

“In the proposed agreement, Israel stands to receive all the hostages abducted on October 7. Such an outcome would fulfill one of the original goals set by the Israeli government when the war commenced. However, this achievement is likely to come at a significant cost, entailing the release of Hamas leaders serving lengthy sentences for their involvement in acts of terrorism.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

November Pause

Hamas took more than 240 hostages into Gaza on October 7. Approximately 132 of them remain in captivity, but Israel believes only 104 are still alive. The Israeli military confirmed on January 21 that Hamas terrorists killed 19-year-old sergeant Shai Levinson in Israel on October 7 and are holding his body hostage in Gaza.

Hamas previously released 81 Israeli hostages between November 24 and November 30 as part of an Egyptian- and Qatari-mediated deal that paused fighting in the Gaza Strip. Hamas also released 23 Thai nationals, one Filipino, and three Israeli-Russian dual citizens under separate arrangements with Bangkok, Manila, and Moscow. The pause collapsed on December 1, when Hamas refused to provide a list of the remaining women and children in captivity and resumed launching rockets at Israel.

Tunnel for Holding Hostages Uncovered in Khan Younis,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Rejects Israel’s Offer for Second Humanitarian Pause,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Renews Attacks on Israel as Pause in Fighting Ends,” FDD Flash Brief


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