U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Israel as negotiations continue over a possible truce and hostage deal that could end Israel’s assault on Gaza — at least temporarily. On Tuesday, Qatar said Hamas had given a “positive” response to a proposed deal, but President Biden described Hamas’s response as “over the top.” In its counteroffer, Hamas proposed a three-phase ceasefire over 135 days where Hamas would release all hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. Hamas is also calling for a permanent ceasefire and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza — demands Israel has so far opposed.
As the negotiations continue, The New York Times is reporting Israel now believes a fifth of the hostages held in Gaza may already be dead. The paper cited a confidential Israeli assessment that estimated at least 30 of the remaining 136 hostages captured on October 7 have died.