Hostage negotiations: Qatar’s disappointment in the last meters

IIn Doha, people will likely breathe a sigh of relief when the Hamas hostages from the Gaza Strip are actually on their way to freedom. At least 50 of them must be released, and in return Israel must release Palestinian women and children. The weapon must remain silent for up to five days.

Shortly after the major Palestinian Islamist terrorist attack on Israel on October 7, Qatari Foreign Minister and Prime Minister Muhammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani attempted to mediate and secure the release of some 240 hostages. There were several failures when we thought we were close to the goal. Previously, Doha stated that only detailed issues remained to be clarified.

Qatari mission met in Gaza

“We are close, but we have been close before,” a diplomat familiar with the talks said Monday afternoon. This was the case, for example, when Israel expanded its ground offensive into the Gaza Strip in the last week of October. Hamas immediately made new demands. “We have reached the final stages of negotiations several times over the past five weeks, and each time escalation on the ground has changed the parameters of the agreement,” Majid al-Ansari, an adviser and spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry, said during the meeting in Doha.

The Qatari leadership has had to endure some setbacks. On November 13, fighting in the Gaza Strip even affected the Qatari mission from which Doha coordinated assistance to the local Hamas-dominated government. Qatar supported this – in close coordination with Israel – and paid for fuel supplies, as well as administrative staff salaries and family support. There was great disappointment in Doha. But mediation efforts continued.

Crisis diplomacy in the Gaza war is a difficult, sometimes frustrating business, especially for mediators. From conversations with Qatari government officials, as well as several foreign diplomats well informed about the mediation efforts, a picture emerges of negotiations between highly suspicious parties with great contradictions within them.

On one side is Hamas, whose political office is in the capital Doha. But for this we will have to wait for the decision of the military leadership of Gaza, which takes a tougher position and continues to expand its demands. Sometimes Hamas officials in Doha are simply unable to reach extremists in the coastal strip because of the fighting. Meanwhile, negotiations have stalled as Israel has blocked telecommunications in the Gaza Strip.

Mossad for agreement with Hamas

The Israeli emergency government’s approach to the hostage issue has often seemed unclear in recent weeks, with key players apparently differing on how to deal with it. The Mossad foreign intelligence service is believed to be favoring a deal with Hamas, including the release of a large group of hostages. He is reported to be increasingly concerned about the long-term consequences of the war in Gaza. This includes widespread radicalization of the population and Hamas’ successor organizations.

In the second week of November, Mossad chief David Barney and CIA director of American foreign intelligence William Burns were in Doha. They met with Prime Minister Al Thani. Some diplomats said the meeting brought progress in the negotiations.

Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine

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