Israel Mossad head Barnea no longer going to Qatar to resume negotiations

Israel Mossad head Barnea no longer going to Qatar to resume negotiations
Mossad chief David Barnea will no longer be heading to Qatar to resume discussions on a second Gaza war hostage agreement after the plan was axed by Israel.
2 min read
14 December, 2023
David Barnea is the chief of Israel's Mossad spy agency [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty-archive]

The chief of Israel's Mossad spy agency will reportedly no longer be going to Qatar to resume discussions on a potential second Gaza war hostage agreement.

American broadcaster CNN cited a source as saying David Barnea's trip was axed by Israel.

Israeli broadcaster Channel 13 previously reported the country's war cabinet had cancelled the plan and senior officials wouldn't travel to the Gulf state to resume discussions.

But Egyptian sources told The New Arab's Arabic sister service Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that Israel has requested Cairo proceed with launching new negotiations to reach a hostage-exchange deal in the Gaza war, including a humanitarian truce.

A previous pause in hostilities, mediated by Qatar, Egypt and the US, lasted for a week and saw the release of over 100 captives held in Gaza. Israel freed 240 Palestinians kept in its jails.

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Hamas official Basem Naim denied the existence of any new negotiations between the mediators and his group regarding a hostage-exchange agreement similar to what took place starting on 24 November.

Concerning Hamas's position of rejecting any negotiations about prisoners prior to a ceasefire, Naim said: "Until this moment, this is the official and consistent position of the movement."

An Egyptian source told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that a call took place on Sunday evening between the head of Egypt's General Intelligence Directorate and Barnea, adding that they discussed developments in Gaza.

The source added: "The head of Mossad informed the Egyptian side clearly of the development of the negotiating situation, and that the Israeli government has become open to the possibility of entering negotiations aimed at liberating the prisoners held by the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, according to amended conditions."

The source said it "seemed clear" the Israeli side was met with a "severe response" from some mediation parties, adding that "officials in Qatar are coordinating with Egypt, following dissatisfaction with the way Israel conducted itself during the negotiations in the final days of the previous truce".

"Some mediators sensed there was a manipulation of positions, amid predetermined decisions by the government of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and the war cabinet," the source said.

Israel's war on Gaza has so far killed almost 18,800 people, while Hamas's 7 October attack inside Israeli territory killed some 1,200.

Some 135 hostages are thought to remain in the Palestinian enclave.