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Israel mulling conditional release of 900 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 40 hostages

April 10, 2024 at 12:06 pm

Thousands of Israeli citizens stage a demonstration demanding release of Israeli prisoners in Gaza, in Tel Aviv, Israel on 06 April, 2024 [Saeed Qaq/Anadolu Agency]

Tel Aviv is considering a proposal by the US CIA Director to release 900 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 40 Israeli hostages held captive by Hamas, with the condition that they be deported to another country and not be allowed to return to their homes in the Gaza Strip, local media reported.

“A proposal by CIA Director, William Burns, would see Hamas release 40 hostages, with Israel freeing 900 Palestinian security prisoners, 100 of whom are serving life sentences,” unnamed Israeli officials told the Walla news site on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Israel was seeking to deport released prisoners overseas instead of allowing them into the West Bank or Gaza, and was demanding a veto on the specific prisoners released,” the officials told the website.

There have been no comments by the concerned parties on the website’s reports regarding the Israeli conditions.

Hamas, which is believed to be holding nearly 130 Israeli hostages, demands an end to Israel’s ongoing offensive on the Gaza Strip in return for any hostage deal with Tel Aviv.

READ: Israel refuses to release Palestinian prisoner who served his sentence

A previous deal in November 2023 saw the release of 81 Israelis and 24 foreigners in exchange for 240 Palestinians, including 71 women and 169 children.

Israel has waged a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip since a 7 October cross-border attack by the Palestinian Resistance group, Hamas, which killed less than 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

More than 33,300 Palestinians have since been killed and nearly 76,000 injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

The Israeli war, now on day 186, has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Amnesty urges Israel to return body of Palestinian who died of ‘medical negligence’ in custody