The draft deal includes the release of up to 40 women and elderly hostages held in Gaza in exchange for up to 300 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, mostly women, minors and elderly people, according to a senior Egyptian official, the Associated Press reported.

The proposed six-week pause in fighting would allow hundreds of aid trucks to enter Gaza every day, including the northern half of the besieged territory, the AP reported. Negotiators face an unofficial deadline: the start of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan around March 10.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the four Middle East nations reached “an understanding” about what the “basic contours” of an agreement would look like. of hostages and a temporary ceasefire, without discussing specific details.

“There will have to be indirect talks between Qatar and Egypt with Hamas because ultimately they will have to agree to the release of the hostages. That work is underway,” he added.

Israeli officials met Saturday night after the latest round of talks. Netanyahu on Sunday called Hamas’ initial negotiating demands “crazy” and promised a “total victory” over the militant group in Gaza.

“Victory cannot be achieved until Hamas is eliminated,” Netanyahu said, adding that the likely expanded operations in the southern Gaza city of Rafah are “weeks, not months” from completion. “If we have an agreement, it will be delayed a little bit, but … if we don’t have it, we will do it anyway,” he said.

Sullivan previously said on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that President Joe Biden has not been briefed on Israel’s plan in Rafah. But he added: “We have made it clear that we do not believe that an operation – a major military operation – should take place in Rafah unless there is a clear and executable plan to protect those civilians, get them to safety and feed them. clothe them and house them, and we have never seen a plan like that.”

Meanwhile, Netanyahu insisted that Israel and the United States were “on the same page” on a plan to evacuate Palestinian citizens from Rafah and destroy the remaining Hamas presence there.

The prime minister was optimistic about the prospects of the operation. “A lot of things that best friends initially told us turned out not to be. They said that you cannot enter a land war without having enormous complications. They said you can’t enter Gaza City, you can’t enter the tunnels. It will be a bloodbath. “All of that turned out to be false.”

Since the start of the war, precipitated by the Hamas incursion into southern Israel on October 7 that left more than 1,150 dead, some 29,514 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli offensive and nearly 70,000 have been wounded, according to the Ministry of Health in Hamas-ruled Gaza. he said on Friday. Two-thirds of the dead were women and children, said the ministry, which does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count.

Israel says it has killed at least 10,000 Hamas fighters, without providing evidence of its count, according to the AP.

By Sam