‘Significant progress’ on Qatar-led negotiations to release hostages from Hamas

‘Significant progress’ on Qatar-led negotiations to release hostages from Hamas

QLNews
By QLNews

Qatari negotiators have been working silently, behind the scenes, for the safe return of Israeli civilians taken as hostages by Hamas recently.

The negotiations had seen some success, with a few hostages — including an American mother and daughter — being released recently.

Diplomatic sources familiar with the discussions told CNN there was ‘significant progress’ on negotiations to release hostages, but a few issues still remained.

“Negotiations are going very well. We have a breakthrough. There’re issues still remaining, but talks are ongoing, and we remain hopeful,” the source was quoted as saying.

Barbara Leaf, the American Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, is currently in Doha for meetings with the Qatari leadership, said a person familiar with the meetings.

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Mohammed Al Khulaifi, who is acting as a senior negotiator, told reporters they were making progress, but the relentless retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza was making negotiations difficult.

“It’s a very, very difficult negotiation that we’ve been dealing with. With this, the violence increases every day and with the bombing continuous every day, our task has become even more difficult,” he said.

“Any escalation whatsoever is going to make our job really hard. Any escalation whatsoever. So we’re trying to send those messages to our partners and friends,” he added.

Dr Mohammed said they were aiming to get all the hostages released.

“Our target is to release all of the civilian hostages. That’s what we’re working on, and that’s what we want to achieve. We need to reach a period where we can speak logically to both sides and come up with positive initiatives,” he said.

When asked about the status of negotiations, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said “Every channel is a possible channel.”

“One thing should be clear — we’ve a goal and I trust the State of Israel and the IDF… and we’ll keep making every effort to bring the hostages and the missing back,” Gallant added.

Israel launched a heavy bombardment of Gaza and imposed a complete blockade on the enclave in response to the Hamas attack.

Israeli strikes have so far killed at least 7,028 Palestinians, including 2,913 children. About 1,600 people are feared trapped under the rubble of bombed buildings.

Qatar has been trying to de-escalate the deadly situation on the ground from the earliest days of the strife.

Qatar-backed institutions in the Gaza Strip, like the Al Fakhoora House in the Southern part of Al Rimal — an initiative of the Education Above All Foundation — was destroyed by Israeli bombs.

While Qatar Charity launched a special campaign for the people of Gaza, local businesses like McDonald’s Qatar stepped forward with a generous QAR1 million donation for humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza.

Members of the royal family have also stepped forward with words of support for the people of Gaza. HH The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani made a powerful speech at the inauguration of the Shura Council’s 52nd annual session, saying Enough is enough’ to Israel’s bombing campaign.

Sheikh Tamim had earlier joined leaders from the GCC and ASEAN regions to call for a halt to Israeli bombing. He then attended the Cairo Summit for Peace, joining world leaders in calling for peace in the Gaza Strip.

At home, Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Vice Chairperson and CEO Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani threw her full support behind the Palestinian cause, saying “Let there be no doubt about this – QF always has and always will stand with Palestine.

Sheikha Hind later wrote a powerful note, calling out Israel and their functioning as ‘modern colonialism masked in democratic idealism.’

Qatar condemned in the strongest of terms Israel’s bombing of the Al Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, where at least 500 civilians have been killed.

Qatar Foundation and Education Above All Foundation Chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser shared a heartfelt note about the deadly hospital bombing, calling on the powers that be to halt the violence immediately.

There has been support for the Palestinian cause from other quarters in Qatar. The Doha Film Institute cancelled the 11th edition of the Ajyal Film Festival in solidarity with the people of Gaza.

Meanwhile, Israel has made moves to shut down offices of Qatar-based TV network Al Jazeera, which has been making accurate reports from behind the lines.

Qatar’s initiatives have come in for wide praise from different quarters. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres extended his appreciation to HH The Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for his valuable efforts in facilitating the liberation of two American citizens from the Gaza Strip.

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