Relatives and supporters of Israelis held hostage by Palestinian militants in Gaza since the October attacks lift flags and placards as they demonstrate calling for their release in the central city of Tel Aviv on June 29, 2024

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday, July 4, that he has agreed to send a delegation for talks on securing the release of hostages seized in the October 7 attacks.

In a statement after telephone talks with US President Joe Biden, Netanyahu’s office said: “The prime minister updated President Biden about his decision to send a delegation that would continue negotiations for freeing the hostages.” There was no indication where the delegation would go or when it would leave.

Netanyahu called a meeting of his security cabinet for late Thursday to discuss proposals sent by Hamas through Qatari mediators to end the Gaza conflict, media reports said.

Hamas has demanded an end to fighting and an Israeli withdrawal as a prelude to any hostage deal. Israel has countered that there can be no end to the war without the release of hostages in the Palestinian territory. Netanyahu has also repeatedly vowed that the Gaza campaign will not end until Hamas’s military and government capabilities have been destroyed.

Hamas said late on Wednesday that it had sent new “ideas” for a potential deal and Netanyahu’s office said the government was “evaluating” them.

Qatar, Egypt and the United States have been mediating between the two sides and sources close to their efforts said there had been a renewed push to bridge the “gaps” between the foes in recent weeks.

Biden announced a pathway to a truce deal in May which he said had been proposed by Israel and which included a six-week truce to allow for talks and eventually a programme to rebuild devastated Gaza.

Le Monde with AFP

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