Ex-Israel Intel Officer: Deal Close on Pause for Hostages

A former Israeli intelligence official said Monday a deal that would pause fighting between Israel and Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip and lead to the release of Israeli hostages is within reach and could be signed “in the near term.”

The comments by Avi Melamed, a negotiator during the first two Palestinian intifadas, align with remarks by President Joe Biden on Monday after he talked with Jordan King Abdullah II at the White House.

“The United States is working on a hostage deal between Israel and Hamas, which would bring immediate and sustained period of calm into Gaza for at least six weeks, which we could then take the time to build something more enduring,” Biden said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “… The key element of the deals are on the table.  There are gaps that remain, but I’ve encouraged Israeli leaders to keep working to achieve the deal.”

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