The U.S. is ‘closer than we have been in quite some time’ to broker a deal with Israel and Hamas to release hostages being held in Gaza, deputy national security adviser Jon Finer said Sunday.
‘I believe we are closer than we have been in quite some time, maybe closer than we have been since the beginning of this process, to getting this deal done. And we are following this minute by minute, hour by hour, and have been for a number of weeks,’ Finer said Sunday on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press.’
Finer was responding to questions regarding Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani telling reporters Sunday that negotiations for hostage releases have improved, and only ‘very minor’ logistical hurdles stood in the way.
‘The deal is going through ups and downs from time to time throughout the last few weeks,’ the Qatari leader said. ‘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.’
Finer explained that he would not go into more details on the negotiations until they are finalized.
‘Sensitive negotiations like this can fall apart at the last minute. So we’re not going to outline all the details of what is still being discussed. We believe that this needs to get done, that people are being held in unconscionable conditions inside Gaza, including a number of Americans. And that they need to be allowed to come home,’ the Biden administration official said.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that Hamas was close to agreeing to release at least 50 hostages in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting. Soon after the report, the White House highlighted that no deal had yet been reached.
There are an estimated 240 hostages being held in Gaza. Finer would not detail how many hostages could be released under a potential deal.
‘I’m not going to give a lot more detail, other than to say we are talking about considerably more than 12 [hostages]. But beyond that, I want to see where this goes and don’t want to say anything that would jeopardize the actual completion of the deal,’ he said.