US, Israeli spy chiefs due in Doha for Gaza talks amid ongoing massacres

US, Israeli spy chiefs due in Doha for Gaza talks amid ongoing massacres
US and Israeli intelligence chiefs will travel to Qatar on Wednesday as Israeli attacks kill dozens of people in Gaza.
3 min read
09 July, 2024
Ahead of the talks violence has raged in north Gaza with thousands of Palestinians newly displaced [Getty]

US and Israeli intelligence chiefs will travel to Doha on Wednesday for discussions on a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, AFP and The New Arab's Arabic language sister site Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported on Tuesday.

CIA director William Burns and the head of Israel's Mossad David Barnea "are travelling to Doha on Wednesday", an AFP source said on Monday, adding they would meet with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani.

The  source said discussions in the Qatari capital had focused on "securing a transition from an initial truce to a more sustainable period of calm".

A Palestinian official familiar with the negotiations told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the Doha talks will also be attended by mediators from Egypt and are expected to begin on Wednesday.

"The indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel will begin with the presence of mediators from Egypt, Qatar and the United States," the official said.

The official said Khalil al-Hayya will head the Hamas delegation, which includes a number of officials in the Palestinian group.

"The details of the Israeli proposal, which was approved by the US, will be discussed, as well as Hamas's response," the official said, adding that there were still several points of disagreement, including Israel's refusal to release 100 Palestinian prisoners who had been sentenced to long prison terms and had "spent more than 15 years in Israeli prisons, among them senior leaders from Hamas, Fatah, (Islamic) Jihad and the Popular Front".

The official also said that Hamas had conditioned a complete Israeli withdrawal from Rafah crossing and the Philadelphi corridor.

Meanwhile, Hamas said that the chief of its political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh had made "urgent contacts" with the Egyptian and Qatari mediators over continued "massacres, killing and displacement" of Palestinians by Israeli forces in Gaza.

"Haniyeh warned of the disastrous repercussions of what is happening in Gaza City, Rafah and other areas across the Gaza Strip, noting that this could bring the negotiating process back to square one," Hamas said in a statement late on Monday.

Haniyeh emphasised that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli army would bear full responsibility in the event of a collapse in negotiations.

In another statement on Monday, Hamas accused Netanyahu of placing additional obstacles in the path of the truce talks "as he escalates his aggression and crimes against our people".

"Hamas requests the mediators' intervention to put an end to Netanyahu's manipulations and crimes," the statement said.

Qatar has been engaged in months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, with support from Egypt and the United States, in efforts to reach a truce in Gaza and a hostage release deal.

For months, a prospective cessation of hostilities has centred around a phased deal beginning with an initial truce.

Recent discussions have focused on a framework outlined by US President Joe Biden in late May which he said had been proposed by Israel.

Ahead of the talks violence raged in north Gaza, and elsewhere in the territory, with thousands of Palestinians newly displaced.

Israel's onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip has killed at least 38,240 people - mostly women and children - and injured more than 88,000 others.