Israel's war cabinet split on hostage deal with Hamas, media reports

Major Israeli media outlet Haaretz reports that the country's war cabinet is divided over negotiations with Hamas on the release of hostages held by the group.

The media outlet reported on Saturday that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as senior military and intelligence officials, argues that Israel should not stop its military campaigns but should step up pressure on Hamas.

Meanwhile, the article says former defense minister and opposition party leader Benny Gantz and some others insist that Israel should act immediately to save whoever it can.

The report says Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet formulated his final position on the matter. It adds he "is occupied with political considerations" to maintain his coalition government, which includes a far-right party.

The article says Israeli leaders are not initiating steps that could "possibly blunt the diminishing of international legitimization for Israel's future military moves."

The Washington Post has reported that Israel and Hamas are close to a US-brokered deal to free hostages in Gaza in exchange for a five-day pause in fighting.

But the split in Israel's war cabinet may affect the fate of their talks.