Middle East

Mossad director expected to travel to Doha for ceasefire talks, according to diplomatic source

From CNN’s Alex Marquardt

Mossad Director David Barnea is expected to travel to Doha for further ceasefire talks with the Qataris and Egyptians — who have been the principal interlocutors with Hamas — according to a diplomat familiar with the talks.

The diplomat believes the talks will be held on Monday. Reuters reported earlier that the Israeli intelligence agency’s head is expected to attend.

CNN reported Friday that an agreement, if it happens, is expected to have multiple phases:

  • In the first stage, Hamas has proposed releasing the Israeli hostages who are women — including Israel Defense Forces soldiers — plus the elderly, sick and wounded. That number is believed to be around 40 out of the estimated 100 hostages who remain alive. The latest proposal by Hamas demands that 700 to 1,000 Palestinians prisoners be released, a diplomat familiar with the discussions told CNN.
  • In a second phase, Hamas said that each side should release all remaining hostages and prisoners, which would include male IDF soldiers and more Palestinian prisoners.

But the toughest sticking points may be the Hamas demands that, after the initial exchange of hostages and prisoners, Israel agrees to a permanent ceasefire and a withdrawal of the Israeli military from Gaza.

Israel’s government has repeatedly said those terms are unacceptable, and that they still intend to continue the fight against Hamas until “complete victory.”

The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that “Hamas is continuing to hold to unrealistic demands” but announced that an Israeli team would soon be traveling to Doha to further talks.

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