Hamas ready to drop key demand in truce and hostage deal, official says

Hamas is ready to reconsider its insistence that Israel commit to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza before signing an agreement that would usher in a temporary truce and begin a process to release hostages still held in Gaza, a senior Hamas official confirmed to CNN.

The change in Hamas’ position was first reported by Reuters, and comes amid intensified efforts towards reaching an agreement. The group has long demanded Israel agree to a permanent ceasefire before signing any deal, terms Israel sees as unacceptable. The apparent willingness to compromise raises the possibility a deal could be reached.

Hamas would instead accept that talks on reaching a permanent ceasefire would take place throughout the first phase of any deal, which would last six weeks, the official told CNN.

The Hamas official – who is a member of the negotiating team – confirmed to CNN that mediators would guarantee a temporary truce, the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza and the withdrawal of Israeli troops so long as indirect talks continued on implementing the second phase of the agreement.

The Hamas official, who declined to be named, said Hamas accepted a proposal to begin talks on releasing Israeli men and soldiers held in Gaza no later than 16 days after the first phase of the agreement begins to be implemented.

Israeli media previously reported that a draft Israeli plan laid out terms for a similar agreement.

The draft stipulates that “no later than the 16th day, indirect negotiations will begin between the two parties to conclude the conditions for the implementation of phase 2 of this agreement. The negotiations should be completed before the end of the 5th week of the first phase.”

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has not confirmed the authenticity of that draft.

Indirect negotiations between an Israeli team and Hamas resumed in Qatar this week after Prime Minister Netanyahu authorized his negotiators to enter into detailed negotiations to try and broker a deal.

Mossad director David Barea was in Qatar to meet with the mediators and discuss the details of a potential new framework agreement for a ceasefire and hostage release deal.

Upon his return, the PMO issued a statement saying “there are still gaps” between the parties.

Efforts to reach a deal between Hamas and Israel have stalled for months. Netanyahu – who faces competing pressure from far-right cabinet ministers and family members of hostages to secure their release - has said Israel won’t stop fighting until Hamas is destroyed.

A three-phase Israeli proposal was unveiled by US President Joe Biden in May, setting conditions intended to lead to the eventual release of all remaining hostages, in return for a permanent ceasefire and withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza following Hamas’s October 7 attacks, which left around 1,200 dead. Since then, the campaign has killed more than 38,000 people.

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com