US President Joe Biden
US President Joe BidenREUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Pool

A senior Biden Administration official told NBC News that the response provided yesterday by the Hamas terrorist organization to the latest proposal for a hostage and ceasefire deal “generally positive.”

According to the official, one of the biggest points of contention is how long the ceasefire would last, as Hamas seeks to have a permanent ceasefire while the proposal was for a six-week ceasefire. Another issue is that Hamas appears to be demanding many more security prisoners be released for each individual Israeli hostage released than the three prisoners per hostage released during the previous deal in November.

The official said, ''We’ll see what the Israelis have to say. There are still some difficult issues to be worked out but there is some room to work with.”

He added, “We are all skeptical it will come together in the coming days but hopeful it could in the next couple of weeks.”

Last night (Tuesday), Hamas finally provided the Qatari government with its response to the proposed deal after days of dragging its feet.

The al-Akhbar magazine this morning published new details of Hamas' response.

As a precondition for any arrangement, Hamas demands a complete halt to Israeli military activity in Gaza, including its airspace.

The hostages to be freed in the first stage would be women, children, the sick, and the elderly, in exchange for the release of all Palestinian Arab women, children, and men aged 50 and above currently held by Israel.

This is in addition to approximately 1,500 other Palestinian Arab prisoners held by Israel, including 500 convicted of murder who are serving life or lengthy sentences.