War Cabinet meeting
War Cabinet meetingKobi Gideon/GPO

The War Cabinet convened on Wednesday evening to discuss a possible deal for the release of hostages.

The Prime Minister's Office said at the conclusion of the discussion, which lasted about four hours, that "the War Cabinet instructed the negotiating team to continue the negotiations for the return of the hostages."

Major General Nitzan Alon, who is responsible for the issue of the hostages on behalf of the IDF, compiled a document with amendments to the Israeli response to the hostage deal proposal, with the aim of seeing how the issue of the cessation of the war can be postponed as part of the negotiations.

Channel 12 News reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists on not conducting negotiations that include a commitment to stop the fighting at any stage. Sources familiar with the negotiations said that "we will have to discuss a ceasefire at one point or another."

On Tuesday, CNN reported that Egyptian intelligence quietly changed the terms of a ceasefire proposal that Israel had already signed off on earlier this month, ultimately scuttling a deal that could have released hostages and Palestinian Arab prisoners, and set a pathway to temporarily end the fighting in Gaza.

The ceasefire agreement that Hamas said on May 6 it had agreed to was not what the Qataris or the Americans believed had been submitted to Hamas for a potential final review, sources told the network.

The changes made by Egyptian intelligence, the details of which have not been previously reported, led to a wave of anger and recrimination among officials from the US, Qatar and Israel, and left ceasefire talks at an impasse.

“We were all duped,” one of those sources told CNN.

CIA Director Bill Burns, who has spearheaded the American efforts to broker a ceasefire agreement, was Three sources familiar with the matter told CNN that a senior Egyptian intelligence official named Ahmed Abdel Khalek was responsible for making the changes. Abdel Khalek is a senior deputy to the Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel, who has been Burns’ counterpart in leading Egypt’s mediation in the ceasefire talks.