"Breaking News: Israel-Hamas Agreement Within Reach, Says White House Official"

"Many areas of difference that previous previously existed have been narrowed," a top national security adviser to President Biden said Sunday.

"Breaking News: Israel-Hamas Agreement Within Reach, Says White House Official"
19 Nov 2023, 06:03 PM
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U.S. Believes Israel-Hamas Hostage Release Deal is Close

Washington — The U.S. government is optimistic about an imminent deal between Israel and Hamas to secure the release of hostages held by the terrorist group, according to a top national security adviser to President Biden. Deputy national security adviser Jon Finer stated on Sunday that significant progress has been made in narrowing the areas of difference between the two parties.

Speaking on "Face the Nation," Finer emphasized that while they are closer than ever to reaching a final agreement, it is crucial to remember that "nothing is agreed until everything is agreed." He stressed that an official agreement has not yet been reached.

"We are committed to working diligently and discreetly behind the scenes to bring as many of these individuals back home, including the American hostages, as quickly as possible," Finer added.

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  • Transcript: Deputy national security adviser Jon Finer on "Face the Nation"

The Washington Post reported Saturday that a deal for the release 50 or more women and children being held hostage in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting had been tentatively agreed to, but the White House and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied that an agreement was reached. 

Qatar's prime minister said Sunday the remaining obstacles to a deal "are just practical and logistical," according to Reuters. Qatar has been involved in the mediation between Israel and Hamas

"The deal is going through ups and downs from time to time throughout the last few weeks. But I think that you know I'm now more confident that we are close enough to reach a deal that can bring the people safely back to their home," said Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani. 

Roughly 240 hostages are believed to have been taken during the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Only four have been released, including two Americans. 

Netanyahu told CBS News on Thursday that Israel was "closer" to a deal on securing the release of hostages, but said there would only be a temporary cease-fire "if we can get our hostages back." 

When asked whether time is running out to secure their release, Finer said he wouldn't use that phrase, but said there is "a time imperative." 

According to an unnamed source, there is a sense of urgency within the Biden administration to address this issue as soon as possible. The source, who goes by the name "Finer," stated that they are putting pressure on diplomatic efforts to expedite the resolution of this matter.

Finer emphasized that this issue is of utmost importance to everyone in the administration, including President Biden himself, who is personally involved in tackling this issue.