According to a source briefed on the discussion, the Israeli Mossad and American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) heads met with the prime minister of Qatar on Thursday in Doha to discuss the terms of an agreement for hostage releases and a halt to Hamas-Israel violence in the Gaza Strip.
Uncertainty surrounded the discussions’ result, although Israel was later said to have consented to short-term pauses by the White House.
Over 240 captives have been released thanks to negotiations led by Hamas and Israeli authorities, with several Hamas political heavyweights headquartered in Qatar. When Hamas fighters stormed into Israel on October 7, they took them with them, and according to Israel, 1,400 people were slaughtered.
Following that, Israel began an unremitting bombing of Gaza, which is run by Hamas, and late last month started an armored invasion of the territory. According to Palestinian sources, over 10,000 Palestinians have died in this invasion, 40% of them were children.
Following a meeting on Wednesday night between Qatari mediators and representatives from the Hamas political office, David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, CIA Director William Burns, and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman al-Thani convened to discuss the terms of an agreement.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a U.S. official acknowledged that Burns had a meeting with the prime minister of Qatar and Barnea to talk about the potential release of Hamas hostages. The representative declined to offer more information.
According to the insider, the meeting’s benefit was that it brought the three participants together in real time at a single table to expedite the process.
The topic of permitting humanitarian gasoline supplies into Gaza—which Israel has so far resisted because it claims the fuel will be transferred to Hamas for military use—was also discussed during the negotiations.
A source told Reuters on Wednesday that the discussions included the possibility of freeing ten to fifteen captives in return for a one- to two-day humanitarian break in the conflict that is destroying Gaza.
The President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, met with Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, on Thursday night in Abu Dhabi.
Along for the trip with the emir was the prime minister of Qatar.
The two leaders got together, according to Sheikh Mohamed’s social media post, to reaffirm their support for the UAE and Qatar’s demands for an instant ceasefire, unhindered humanitarian access, and the safety of all civilians.
“The UAE and Qatar stand firm in urging the need to advance de-escalation efforts and secure a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the region,” he stated.