Middle east

Resumption of Truce Negotiations: New American Efforts with Egypt and Qatar to Stop the Gaza War

CIA Director William Burns and White House Middle East czar Brett McGurk returned to the Middle East on Tuesday to hold meetings in Doha and Cairo aimed at advancing a proposal for an Israeli hostage deal presented last week, according to two American officials.

Resumption of Negotiations

The “Times of Israel” reported that an Egyptian security delegation is scheduled to meet with its Qatari and American counterparts in Doha today, Wednesday.

One American official said that Burns and McGurk might also stop in Israel after their meetings in Qatar and Egypt, whose governments are mediating talks between Israel and Hamas along with the United States.

A Qatari foreign ministry spokesman confirmed separately on Tuesday that Doha had delivered an Israeli ceasefire proposal to Hamas, adding that it accurately reflected the deal put forward by US President Joe Biden last week. The United States said Hamas received the Israeli proposal from Qatar last Thursday.

Majed Al-Ansari said that Doha had not yet obtained concrete approvals from either side, but it seems the distance between them had narrowed.

The foreign ministry spokesman stressed the need for clear positions from both sides, with some members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s government threatening to topple the government over the proposal.

Al-Ansari said at a press conference: “We are waiting for a clear position from Israel representing the entire government in response to the American proposal on Gaza.”

He added: “We have already seen statements from Israeli ministers that do not give us much confidence in a unified position in Israel on this current proposal on the table. However, we can also see that there is positive momentum building on both sides.”

American Efforts

The Israeli newspaper confirmed that the departure of the American delegation marks the latest effort by the Biden administration to advance the proposal aimed at ending the war between Israel and Hamas through a phased release of hostages.

Biden has called on Hamas to accept, outlining several key elements of the Israeli offer in a high-stakes speech last Friday, which shocked Jerusalem, where Netanyahu‘s far-right coalition partners have threatened to topple the government if the prime minister advances the proposal.

The agreement calls for the release of the remaining live hostages among the women, elderly, and sick who were kidnapped during the Hamas-led attack on October 7, in a first phase lasting six weeks. The second phase of the deal would see a permanent end to the war.

Biden said that Hamas would not remain in power in Gaza, but he did not clarify how this would be achieved.

The Israeli newspaper confirmed that the leaked paragraphs of the deal are indeed vague on this point, perhaps deliberately, so that both sides feel comfortable signing it.

Israeli officials accused Netanyahu on Monday of complicating those efforts by maintaining ambiguity over the fact that Israel would not end the war until it eliminates Hamas.

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