Qatar said to tell Israel that Hamas ‘agrees in principle’ to resume talks on hostage deal

Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha, Qatar, October 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)
Qatar's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Doha, Qatar, October 13, 2023. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, Pool)

Qatari mediators have told Israel that Hamas “agrees in principle” to resume negotiations for the release of further hostages taken by the terror group during the October 7 atrocities, in exchange for a weeks-long truce in the Gaza Strip, the Walla news site reports.

Citing three Israeli officials, the report says Israel is responding warily to the message and stressing that it will quickly emerge whether Hamas is indeed serious.

According to the report, the talks remained centered on a proposal presented by Mossad chief David Barnea that would include the release of some 40 hostages, including women still held by Hamas, men over 60 and those with serious medical issues. In return for the hostages, Israel would halt military operations in Gaza for a week or two and release a numer of Palestinian security prisoners.

One of the Israeli officials says the Qatari message is very preliminary but describes it as a positive development.

“We move from a freeze to a situation that is very cold,” the official is quoted as saying.

Another official says Israel has yet to receive a concrete offer from Qatar and is waiting for further details, adding, “in any case the gaps remain large.”

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