ARAB AND WORLD

Sun 25 Feb 2024 9:30 am - Jerusalem Time

Israeli War Council agrees to send a delegation to Doha to discuss the prisoner deal

Yesterday, Saturday, the Israeli War Council gave the green light to send a delegation to Qatar to continue the discussions that took place in recent days in Paris, with the aim of reaching a truce agreement in Gaza that includes the release of Israeli detainees held by resistance factions in Gaza, according to what officials and local media reported.


The Council met last night after the Israeli delegation returned from talks in Paris, to discuss the release of hostages and a ceasefire agreement in the Israeli war on Gaza.


Israeli media reported overnight that the delegation will head to Doha in the coming days to continue these negotiations with the aim of agreeing on a truce for several weeks that includes the release of detainees in Gaza in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israel.


National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi had spoken about a war council meeting in Israel after the delegation’s return from Paris, to discuss the release of detainees held by resistance factions in Gaza, and a ceasefire agreement in the war on the Gaza Strip.


He said in press statements that members of the War Council “will meet by phone” to listen to an update on the discussions related to the war on the Gaza Strip.


Paris talks

On Friday, talks began in the French capital with the participation of the head of the Israeli Foreign Intelligence Service (Mossad), David Barnea, the head of the CIA, William Burns, the Prime Minister of Qatar and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, and the head of Egyptian Intelligence, Abbas Kamel, in an attempt to reach a deal. For the exchange of prisoners between Israel and Hamas.


Hanegbi stated during an interview with N12 news channel that there is likely room to “move forward towards an agreement,” without giving further details.


Israel insists on releasing all the prisoners who were detained in the attacks of last October 7, but Hanegbi pointed out that "an agreement like this does not mean the end of the war."


Tel Aviv estimates that there are about 134 Israeli prisoners in Gaza, while it holds at least 8,800 Palestinians in its prisons, according to official sources from both parties.


Rafah invasion

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he will begin consultations to expand the battles towards Rafah, including the evacuation of residents, adding that his government is working to reach an additional agreement to release Israelis detained by resistance factions in Gaza.


Netanyahu added that he will meet at the beginning of this week with members of the Ministerial Council to approve field plans for work in Rafah, including developing a plan to evacuate the civilian population from there.


Netanyahu had rejected Hamas's conditions, pledging to continue the military campaign until "complete victory" was achieved.


He also reiterated the need for his forces to launch an attack on Rafah, south of Gaza, despite major fears of its repercussions on hundreds of thousands of civilians who fled there to escape the battles in the rest of the Strip.


Netanyahu added that after the Paris negotiations, the Council of Ministers will gather to approve operational plans in Rafah, including the evacuation of the civilian population.


He said, "We are working to obtain another plan to release the prisoners detained in Gaza, as well as to complete the elimination of Hamas forces in Rafah," at a time when the United Nations warns of a humanitarian catastrophe in the city.


On Saturday, Israeli Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy toured the Gaza Strip and stressed that military action is the only effective way to recover the hostages.

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Israeli War Council agrees to send a delegation to Doha to discuss the prisoner deal