Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, has stated that “minor” obstacles remain in the way of reaching an agreement to liberate some of the over 200 individuals captured in Gaza by Hamas following its attack on Israel a month ago.
There are only minor problems with the deal between Israel and Hamas to hold prisoners. The former foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed, provided further details or a timetable.
“The remaining challenges in the negotiations are negligible compared to the more significant obstacles.” “They are more practical and logistical,” he stated at a simultaneous press conference with Josep Borrell, the foreign policy chief of the European Union.
Qatar has been mediating negotiations to secure the release of captives captured in the October 7 surprise attack on Israel by Hamas, which resulted in the deaths of at least 1,200 people.
To eradicate Hamas, Israel launched an unrelenting air and ground campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the attack, bombarding the densely populated territory. Over 13,000 individuals have lost their lives in the intervening weeks.
Borrell, en route to Jordan from Qatar to meet with the emir of Qatar, demanded the “unconditional release” of all captives and condemned Hamas for the attack.
“One horror does not justify another horror; there is no hierarchy between horrors,” he stated, urging an end to the escalating violence and the establishment of “sustainable peace” in the region.
Citing an official with knowledge of the negotiations, Reuters reported on November 15 that Qatari mediators had been attempting to negotiate an agreement between Israel and Hamas in which 50 captives would be exchanged for a three-day ceasefire that would facilitate the delivery of emergency assistance to Gaza civilians.
The Washington Post reported on Saturday that a provisional agreement had been established to release the female and juvenile prisoners in return for a cessation of hostilities.
The newspaper reported, citing anonymous sources, that all combatants would cease hostilities for at least five days, during which the captives would be gradually liberated in small groups.
The White House refuted the report of the American newspaper and stated that negotiations on an agreement were ongoing. Joe Biden, president of the United States, informed reporters on Sunday that he lacked the authority to speculate on when the captives might be released. “I’ll let you know once I’ve confirmed that they’re gone,” he stated at a gathering in Virginia.
On Sunday, Sheikh Mohammed stated that these allegations were “counterproductive” and that the negotiation process was fraught with difficulty.
“I am now more convinced that we are near an agreement that will allow us to return the people to their homes safely,” he said.
As Israel readies Gaza’s southern half to receive an expansion of its ground offensive targeting Hamas, the negotiations persist.
The United States, the principal ally of Israel, has advised prudence as the 2.3 million inhabitants of Gaza struggle to find shelter from the line of fire.
Sunday, as he reaffirmed his call for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the civilian death toll in Gaza as “absurd and intolerable.”
Israel has thus far rejected every armistice request.