White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said Hamas could use a “pause” in the war to “regroup” during an interview Wednesday with “CBS Mornings.”
The Israeli cabinet approved a deal Tuesday for Hamas to release some hostages in exchange for a temporary pause in the conflict and the release of Palestinian prisoners. In the first phase of the agreement, Israel will pause its strikes in Gaza for approximately four days in exchange for the release of 50 hostages from Hamas, while the Jewish state will release 150 Palestinian prisoners.
“There definitely is a tension between creating the time and space to get hostages out — which is a huge win, first for the families but also for Israel, for the United States and for other countries. And, on the other hand, allowing this time where Hamas can regroup, it can rest, it can reorient itself and, yes, take advantage of this time, but this was a cost that Israel was prepared to pay because the human benefit of reuniting people with their families, especially women and children, was so profound and compelling,” Sullivan said.
As part of the deal, Sullivan said the White House expects some American hostages will be released.
“We know that there are nine American citizens and one Green Card holder who are missing. We don’t know for certain that all ten of those people are alive and we have been very honest about that with the American people,” Sullivan said.
“What we believe is among those ten, there are two women and one child and we expect that they will be released in this group of 50, but again, until we actually see them, until they are actually in the arms of their family members, we cannot be certain,” Sullivan added.
Hamas terrorists took dozens of civilians hostage on Oct. 7 while carrying out a massacre after breaching Israel’s border with Gaza. Hamas released four hostages on Oct. 20 and Oct. 23, while Israeli forces rescued a hostage on Oct. 30.
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