Israel authorises Mossad chief to negotiate on Qatar proposal regarding Gaza truce: report

Israel authorises Mossad chief to negotiate on Qatar proposal regarding Gaza truce: report
Israeli media reported that Qatar's proposed deal includes the exchange of hostages and a truce in the Gaza war lasting several weeks.
2 min read
31 December, 2023
Mossad chief David Barnea is reportedly negotiating for a new truce with Hamas [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP/Getty-archive]

Israel's war cabinet has authorised the head of its Mossad spy agency to move forward regarding a Qatari proposal for a deal with Hamas amid the Gaza war, Israeli media reported on Saturday.

Public broadcaster Kan said the proposal includes a hostage exchange that would see dozens of captives in Gaza released in return for Palestinians held by Israel and a truce lasting several weeks.

Kan reported that the Qataris have said Hamas no longer demands a complete stop to the war to progress the deal.

It also cited unnamed Israeli sources as saying there were very advanced communications.

The war cabinet is expected to meet on Sunday to discuss the deal and the issue of the "day after" the Gaza conflict.

Far-right Israeli ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich are not part of the war cabinet but will also converse about the strip's administration following the fighting.

Mossad chief David Barnea briefed the war cabinet on Friday on messages reportedly received from Qatar, according to which Hamas is no longer demanding a full ceasefire as a condition for progressing a new hostage-swap agreement.

But the Palestinian armed group has said more than once in recent days that there would be no negotiations before a complete end to the war.

Kan cited an Israeli source as saying the "discussions focus on a humanitarian deal, but the price that Israel will have to pay in terms of the number of days of the truce and the release of Palestinian prisoners will be greater".

A previous Qatari-mediated hostage exchange and pause in fighting in Gaza ran for a week and expired on 1 December.

Israel's brutal war on Gaza has so far killed more than 21,800 people, and the territory has been completely devastated, with hospitals, ambulances, residential buildings, and places of worship intentionally targeted.

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