Jerusalem: In response to claims made by The Washington Post on November 18, 2023, suggesting a five-day ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu swiftly dismissed the reports, labeling them as incorrect. According to Netanyahu, there was no finalized deal for the release of 240 Israeli civilians held captive by Hamas. He asserted that should any such agreement be reached, the Israeli government would promptly inform the public.
During a press conference, Minister Benny Gantz echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the priority of bringing hostages home. Gantz acknowledged the persistent efforts to address the situation and reunite families, yet maintained that this priority did not supersede the obligation to combat Hamas. He expressed a commitment to the lengthy endeavor of dismantling the threat posed by the terrorist organization.
Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, also contradicted The Washington Post's report, stating on X (formerly Twitter), "We have not reached a deal yet, but we continue to work hard to get to a deal."
The initial report from The Washington Post had claimed a 'tentative deal' between Israel and Hamas, proposing a ceasefire in exchange for the release of women and children held by the terror group in Gaza. The release, reportedly set to begin in the next several days, was said to potentially bring about the first sustained pause in the conflict in Gaza.
The Washington Post asserted that the outline of the deal was crafted during weeks of talks in Doha, Qatar, involving representatives from Israel, the United States, and Hamas, indirectly mediated by Qatari officials. The report suggested U.S. involvement in brokering the ceasefire.
However, Netanyahu's denial underscored the uncertainty surrounding Israel's agreement to temporarily halt its offensive in Gaza, contingent upon favorable conditions. Various news outlets, including Reuters, had cited The Washington Post in reporting the imminent prospect of a ceasefire. The situation remains fluid, with ongoing efforts to address the complex dynamics between Israel and Hamas.