US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Tel Aviv for hostage negotiation talks following widespread reports that Hamas has received Israel’s truce offer ‘positively’. And yet, other statements suggest these talks are in reality just barely getting off the ground. Just before arriving in Israel, Blinken met with another key mediator in the process, Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and admitted “there’s still a lot of work to be done.” Blinken also stressed Tuesday, “But we continue to believe that an agreement is possible and indeed essential. And we will continue to work relentlessly to achieve it.”

The Israeli plan envisions a 2-month ceasefire, during which time there would be hostage/prisoners swaps in multiple phases, by the end of which all remaining Israeli and foreign captives would be set free. On Wednesday Hamas finally presented its more detailed response to the Israeli plan. “Hamas proposed a ceasefire to quiet the guns in Gaza for four-and-a-half months [or 135 days], during which all hostages would go freeIsrael would withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip and an agreement would be reached on an end to the war,” Reuters writes. The proposed Hamas plan, which Israel now says it is studying intensely, would be implemented according to the proposed stages: