Israeli Negotiators Depart Qatar as Truce Talks Collapse

By Yoni Weiss

One of Qatar’s lead negotiators Abdullah Al Sulaiti (R) works inside an operation room set up to coordinate the truce and release of hostages between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, at the National Command Centre in Doha, Qatar November 26, 2023. REUTERS/Imad Creidi

Efforts to renew the ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas hit an impasse, resulting in Mossad agents, responsible for the negotiations from the Israeli side, leaving Qatar.

Issuing a statement on Motzoei Shabbos, the Prime Minister’s Office revealed that the halt in negotiations came following Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s instructions. Mossad chief David Barnea directed the team in Doha to return to Israel.

The statement pointed out Hamas’s failure to meet its obligations under the agreement, specifically mentioning the incomplete release of women, children, and other captives outlined in a pre-approved list.

Expressing gratitude, Barnea acknowledged the collaborative efforts of the CIA head, Egypt’s intelligence minister, and the Qatari Prime Minister, acknowledging their significant role in the recent release of 84 women and children from Gaza, along with 24 foreign nationals.

Barnea had made multiple trips to Doha aiming to secure the release of additional hostages held by Hamas in Gaza. Despite the renewed conflict, Israel reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring the safe return of all hostages.

As per the latest update, 137 hostages remain in captivity, comprising 20 women and 117 men, including 126 Israelis and 11 foreigners.

Among the captives are two minors: nine-month-old Kfir Bibas and his four-year-old brother, Ariel.

Hamas claims the Bibas children and their mother are deceased but hasn’t provided evidence. Israeli media speculates that Hamas might seek further concessions or aim to prevent public disclosure of their treatment of captives.

In the recent releases on Thursday, only two minors, 17-year-old Aisha Ziyadne and her 18-year-old brother Bilal, from the Bedouin community, were freed. However, their father and 25-year-old brother remain in captivity.

Additionally,10 hostages still held are aged 75 or older, while 11 are foreign nationals.

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