1367456 Israel.jpg

US President Joe Biden highlighted that he hopes there will be a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict by “next Monday,” as reported by CNN.

He further said that we are close to it but it’s not done yet. “Well, I hope by the beginning of the weekend, I mean, the end of the weekend,” Biden said after being asked when a ceasefire might start. “My national security adviser tells me that we’re close. We’re close, it’s not done yet. And my hope is that by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire,” Biden added. Earlier on Monday, according to CNN, Hamas backed off some key demands in the negotiations for a hostage deal and paused the fighting in Gaza following Israeli accusations that its position was “delusional”.

It brought the negotiating parties closer to an initial agreement that could halt the fighting and see a group of Israeli hostages released, according to two sources familiar with the discussions.

Following the meeting held in Paris between the US, Egyptian, and Israeli intelligence chiefs and the Qatari prime minister, a senior Biden administration official said, “The major obstacles have been resolved in terms of Hamas insisting on a full withdrawal of Israeli forces and an end the war.”

“Hamas’ requirements for the number of Palestinians (prisoners that) would have to be freed have declined,” the official added. Meanwhile, a diplomatic source familiar with the discussions said that Hamas softened its position ahead of an agreement on the first phase of a deal, according to CNN.

However, it is expected that more challenging hurdles will emerge later when complex issues like Hamas releasing male IDF hostages and an end to the war are discussed. Furthermore, those involved in the discussions said that an agreement would likely be implemented in multiple phases and once an initial deal is made, it could lead to a truce lasting for as long as six weeks with a group of Israeli hostages released, including women, children, the elderly and the sick, in exchange for a smaller number of Palestinian prisoners than Hamas had initially demanded.

According to CNN, the second phase is where discussions are expected to get even more complicated. Reportedly, Israeli leaders have made it clear that they intend to launch a military offensive into Rafah, while in an earlier proposal, Hamas said they want to use a second phase to discuss “the requirements necessary for the continuation of the mutual cessation of military operations.” .”

Earlier on Sunday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said that the Paris meeting resulted in “an understanding among the four of them about what the basic contours of a hostage deal for a temporary ceasefire would look like.”

“There will have to be indirect discussions by Qatar and Egypt with Hamas because ultimately they will have to agree to release the hostages. That work is underway. And we hope that in the coming days, we can drive to a point where there is actually a firm and final agreement on this issue. But we will have to wait and see,” he added.