The heads of the US and Israeli intelligence agencies, CIA and Mossad, arrived in Doha to talk to Qatari officials with the aim of extending the truce agreement in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
CIA director William J. Burns arrived in Qatar this Tuesday (9) for a meeting with the head of the Mossad intelligence service.
According to information from The Washington Post, Burns is pushing for Hamas and Israel to increase the focus of their hostage negotiations, which have so far been limited to women and children, to also cover the release of men and military personnel. He is also seeking a longer pause of several days of fighting, while also taking into account the Israeli demand that Hamas release at least 10 people for each day that there is a lull in the war.
An initial agreement established a four-day pause in fighting in the Gaza Strip and was extended for another two days, until Wednesday (29), according to an announcement made by Qatari authorities on Monday (28). This Tuesday, the fifth day of the truce, 12 Israeli hostages and 30 Palestinian prisoners were released. In total, 63 Israeli hostages and 180 Palestinian prisoners have been released to date.
A veteran diplomat and former U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Burns became the top U.S. negotiator in the hostage crisis, valued by President Joe Biden for his contacts throughout the Middle East and, in particular, within the Mossad.
Hamas says humanitarian aid not reaching northern Gaza
Ghazi Hamad, a member of the Hamas political bureau, told Al Jazeera that the rights of the Palestinian people should be “on the table” during diplomatic discussions related to Gaza and said that much of the promised humanitarian aid has not yet reached the northern Gaza.
“There must be additional guarantees that the truce will be fulfilled,” he said before adding that Hamas is fully prepared to conclude a comprehensive agreement if Israel has “serious intentions” of releasing all Palestinian prisoners.
The core of the Arab-Israeli issue is the way in which the State of Israel was created in 1948, with numerous unresolved points, such as the expected creation of an Arab State in the Palestine region, the confiscation of land and the expulsion of Palestinians who became refugees in neighboring countries.
The decision to create the two states was taken within the scope of the United Nations (UN) and took place without the agreement of several Arab countries, generating even more conflicts in the region.
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Over the following decades, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories – supported by the US – became harsher, which stimulated the creation of resistance movements. There were numerous failed attempts at peace agreements and, in the 1990s, the Treaty of Oslo was reached, in which Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized each other and provided for the end of the Israeli military occupation.
The agreement was met with opposition from sectors in Israel – who even killed the country’s then prime minister – and from Palestinian groups, such as Hamas, which began its campaign with suicide bombers. After the Israeli military exit from the occupied lands in Gaza, the first Palestinian election took place, won by Hamas (2006), but not internationally recognized. The following year, Hamas expelled moderates from the Fatah group from Gaza and dominated the region.
On October 7, 2023, Hamas launched its biggest operation yet, invading Israeli territory and causing the highest number of deaths in the country’s history, 1,400, in addition to taking around 200 hostages. The Israeli response has been brutal, with constant bombings that have already caused the death of thousands of Palestinians, in addition to cutting off water and electricity supplies, measures considered disproportionate, criticized and labeled “massacre” and “genocide” by several international organizations.
*With information from The Washington Post and Al Jazeera
Editing: Leandro Melito