Israel agrees to US proposal on prisoner-hostage deal but Hamas says some issues remain unresolved

Israel has agreed to a US proposal on a prisoner-hostage exchange that would release around 700 Palestinian prisoners, among them 100 serving life sentences for killing Israelis, in exchange for the release of 40 Israeli hostages held by Hamas in Gaza, according to CNN analyst Barak Ravid’s reporting on the recent round of talks in Doha, Qatar.

CNN affiliate Channel 11 (Kan News) on Sunday also reported on Israel’s agreement to the US prisoner-hostage exchange proposal. Kan News cited a senior Israeli official, saying that Israel is ready to make “significant compromises in order to return the abductees home.”

Earlier in the weekend, Ravid, citing an unnamed Israeli official, tweeted that Israel agreed to a US “bridging proposal” on the number of Palestinian prisoners to be released for every hostage held by Hamas.

A diplomatic source briefed on the matter confirmed to CNN the accuracy of Ravid’s information Saturday but said outstanding issues remain, including the entry of aid and “Israeli military repositioning” in Gaza.

CNN has reached out to Israeli officials on the status of the talks.

Israel agreed to the proposal put forth by CIA Director Bill Burns, according to Ravid. Burns was in Doha, where Hamas and Israel are engaged in talks through mediators.

Hamas’ response could take one to three days, according to Ravid, who said he has spoken to Israeli officials.

“Those details need to go from Hamas representatives in Doha, who are negotiating, to the person who really calls the shots, and this is Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar in Gaza, who is in a bunker some 100 feet under the ground, so this takes a long time,” Ravid told Omar Jimenez on “CNN Newsroom” on Sunday.

Ravid said the proposed exchange will “definitely include some” American hostages, because it will include the release of men over age 50.

‘Pressure’ on talks

Hamas pushed back against the reports, with senior officials Basem Naeim and Hussam Badran separately playing down the potential for a breakthrough.

Naeim told CNN that “Israeli-American media” was increasing the pressure on the talks.

“For us, the negotiations are not only centered around the prisoner exchange deal,” he said. “Israel has not agreed to any of (Hamas’) requests related to a complete ceasefire, the withdrawal of all forces from the Gaza Strip, even in stages, and the return of all displaced people to their homes.”

Badran said on Hamas’ Telegram page that Israel is refusing to give “any guarantees to mediators on basic issues” related to the “lives of people in Gaza.”

“We… are negotiating to reach a clear and specific goal related to the needs and requirements of our people in general and Gaza in particular,” he said.

Hamas’ latest proposal this month demanded that some 700 to 1,000 Palestinian prisoners be released. Israel at the time described the demands as “ridiculous” and “absurd.”

An agreement, if it happens, is expected to have multiple phases. In the first stage, Hamas has proposed releasing the hostages who are women – including Israeli soldiers – elderly, sick and wounded. That number is believed to be roughly 40 out of the around 100 hostages who remain alive.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

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