Monday Briefing: Hostage Talks to Continue in Qatar

During a truce last year, more than 100 hostages were released.Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Hostage talks are set to continue in Qatar

An Israeli delegation is expected to arrive in Qatar as soon as today for talks on a new deal for a temporary cease-fire with Hamas and the release of some hostages held in Gaza, according to an Israeli official.

The negotiations follow talks held in Paris on Friday between an Israeli delegation and mediators from the U.S., Qatar and Egypt. In those discussions, Israel’s delegation agreed to a basic outline for a deal that would involve a six-week truce and the exchange of about 40 hostages for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, officials said.

Israel’s war cabinet approved the broad terms on Saturday night, an Israeli official said. The goal was to reach a deal before the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, which is expected to begin around March 10.

Hamas representatives did not attend the Paris meeting, and it was not immediately clear how acceptable the outline was to the group. One main sticking point has been Hamas’s insistence on a complete cessation of hostilities as a condition for any hostage deal, as well as the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners.

In Israel, the police said they arrested 21 people in Tel Aviv on Saturday night amid clashes with protesters who were calling for the ousting of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the return of hostages.

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