Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a five-day ceasefire deal proposed in the early days of the Israeli offensive by Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza, which entailed the release of several hostages, some media outlets have reported citing sources familiar with the negotiations.

Despite the mounting Palestinian death toll, which has risen to over 10,000, and the resumption of negotiations, Netanyahu matians a hardline against ceasefire proposals involving the release of hostages, according to media reports.

Earlier negotiations had seen Hamas propose the release of dozens of foreign nationals held captive in Gaza. However, the Israeli Prime Minister’s office remained tight-lipped, refusing to comment on the ongoing hostage negotiations.

Approximately 240 people, including civilians, are currently held hostage by Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other resistance groups from Gaza. Demands for Israel to prioritise hostage negotiations have led to rallies outside Netanyahu’s residence.

The initial deal proposed the release of children, women, and elderly/sick individuals in exchange for a five-day ceasefire. The Israeli government rejected the offer and initiated a relentless bombardment of Gaza, killing over 10,300 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and injuring 25,000 so far in the process.

Hamas spokesperson cited increased attacks as a hindrance to releasing more hostages.

Indirect negotiations between Israeli officials and Hamas, mediated by Qatar, now focus on the possibility of a ceasefire lasting between one and three days, tied to the release of 10 to 15 hostages.

The Biden administration, which strongly backs Isreal’s ongoing military operation in Gaza and rejects a ceasefire, has reportedly suggested linking the duration of any ceasefire to the number of hostages released.

Negotiations yielded some progress with the release of four women, including two Americans and two Israelis, on 20 and 24 October. Egyptian mediators, according to Al Qahera, an Egyptian cable news channel, are close to brokering a “humanitarian truce” and a broader hostage exchange.

Israel demanded Hamas to provide a full list of each person held in Gaza before considering a ceasefire. Hamas, citing the ongoing conflict, claimed it couldn’t provide the list promptly, underscoring the challenges in identifying the number, locations, and survival status of the estimated 240 hostages held by various groups across Gaza.

Negotiations faced setbacks as each deal presented to Netanyahu returned with tougher demands. The Israeli prime minister, whose government is seen as the most right-wing in Israel’s history, chose instead to intensify attacks on Gaza, rejecting increasing international calls for ceasefire.