Deal closer? Netanyahu calls key cabinet meeting to discuss hostage situation

Hope there will be good news soon, says Israel PM

Israel Hostage situation A supporter of the families of hostages who are being held in the Gaza Strip after they were seized by Hamas gunmen on October 7 prepares missing signs posters depicting hostages, in Tel Aviv | Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said progress was being made on the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip. With the release of hostages gaining pace, Netanyahu has called key decision-making bodies meet to discuss the situation.

“We are making progress. I don’t think it’s worth saying too much, not at even this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon,” said Netanyahu.

Earlier today, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had indicated that Hamas is “close to” a truce agreement with Israel. “We are close to reaching a deal on a truce,” he said.

The Times of Israel too reported that Qatar foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari saying “we are at the closest point we ever had been in reaching an agreement”, adding that negotiations were at a “critical and final stage”.

A statement released by Netanyahu's office said the special war Cabinet will convene be convened followed by meetings of the broader Security Cabinet and then the full Cabinet.

BRICS summit

Amid raging Israel-Hamas war, world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman took part in the virtual BRICS summit.

Xi Jinping urged all parties in the Gaza conflict to immediately ceasefire, end all attacks against civilians and release civilian detainees to avoid more loss of lives and suffering. Jinping also called for the convening of an "international peace conference" to resolve the Israel-Hamas conflict.

"All parties in the conflicts should immediately cease fire and hostilities, stop all violence and attacks targeting civilians, and release civilian detainees to avoid more loss of lives and suffering," state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

He also added that there could be no "sustainable peace and security" in the Middle East without a just solution to the Palestine issue.

Putin has also called for a ceasefire in Gaza and international efforts to de-escalate the situation.

"Russia’s position is consistent and non-opportunistic. We call for the joint efforts of the international community aimed at de-escalating the situation, a ceasefire and finding a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict," reported Tass, Russian state-owned news agency.

"The death of thousands of people, the mass expulsion of civilians and the humanitarian catastrophe that has erupted cause deep concern," it added.

Saudi Arabia demanded the start of a serious and comprehensive peace process to establish a Palestinian state along the borders of 1967. "The Kingdom's position is constant and firm; there is no way to achieve security and stability in Palestine except through the implementation of international decisions related to the two-state solution," said Prince Mohammed.

Meanwhile, Israel’s air force has posted to social media to claim that in the last 24 hours it has “struck approximately 250 Hamas terror targets”.

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