CIA chief to join hostage deal talks with Mossad, Egypt and Qatar

Previous proposal fell through over Hamas demands for a permanent ceasefire before releasing any of the hostages. 

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The CIA director and the head of the Mossad will meet Qatari and Egyptian officials in Europe for renewed discussions on the release of hostages in Gaza, as reported by Israeli officials to Channel 12.

US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns and David Barnea, who heads Israel’s Mossad will meet with Qatari prime minister and foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and an Egyptian official in the coming days.

The Israeli official reported that the renewed negotiations “bring together the two [hitherto separate] lines of negotiation by Qatar and Egypt in order to exert joint pressure on Hamas and to bridge the gaps between the two mediators.”

According to The Washington Post, Israel has proposed a two-month pause in fighting in exchange for the release of the remaining 136 hostages.

The central conflict that created an impasse in a previous proposal was Hamas demanding a permanent ceasefire before releasing any of the hostages and refusing to agree to a temporary pause in fighting.

Hamas reportedly is demanding a 10 to 14-day pause in fighting before hostages are released, 100 Palestinian prisoners released for every civilian hostage in the first phase, a few hundred Palestinian prisoners released for every soldier released in later phases and a complete withdrawal of the IDF from the Gaza Strip.

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Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the agreement because it would forfeit Israel’s goal in the war with Hamas–to eliminate the terror group and prevent a repeat of the October 7th atrocities against Israelis.

“Hamas is demanding, in exchange for the release of our hostages, the end of the war, the withdrawal of our forces from Gaza, the release of the murders and rapists of the Nukhba and leaving Hamas in place,” Netanyahu said.

“Were we to agree to this – our soldiers would have fallen in vain. Were we to agree to this – we would not be able to ensure the security of our citizens. We would be unable to safely restore the evacuees to their homes and the next October 7 would be only a question of time. I am not prepared to accept such a mortal blow to the security of Israel; therefore, we will not agree to this.”

Netanyahu concluded, “The conditions being proposed by Hamas underscore a simple point – there is no substitute for victory. Only total victory will ensure the elimination of Hamas and the return of all our hostages.”