Ehud Yaari
Ehud YaariNati Shohat/Flash 90

Channel 12 News’ Middle Eastern affairs commentator Ehud Yaari said on Sunday that, contrary to what is being reported in the media, a deal between Hamas and Israel to secure the release of hostages in Gaza is still far away.

"I apologize to the families of the hostages, because at the moment I have no news and I am relying on good sources on the other side. We are not on the verge of a deal. The story about a response by Hamas at 7:00 p.m. tonight originates from a journalist whose name we don't even know that made huge headlines in Israel for no reason," said Yaari.

He noted that "what I do hear from them is that, late in the evening, a written response will be given to the Qataris and the Egyptians. Sinwar will give the answer - but it has to go through a professional and diplomatic rephrasing - and that is done by people outside and not by those who are with him in the bunker."

"Hamas' position is that there is a big gap between the parties, that they insist on justified guarantees for the cessation of hostilities and probably also on the withdrawal of IDF forces from the Strip before making the first move in the hostage deal. This is their position," said Yaari.

"The bottom line is we are not on the verge of a deal, Hamas insists on ending the war, and behaves and perhaps also feels as if time is in its hands and is in no rush to head for a truce," he concluded.