Israel-Hamas talks could restart under Qatari mediation
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (left), Mossad Director David Barnea and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
(Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Jerusalem will reportedly demand the release of all women remaining in captivity, along with the sick, injured and elderly.

JNS Staff Report
December 18, 2023

Mossad Director David Barnea met in Warsaw on Monday with Qatar’s prime minister and CIA Director William Burns to discuss renewing negotiations for the release of hostages.

Barnea also met with Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in Europe on Friday night to prepare the ground for renewed talks.

It was the first time Israeli and Qatari officials met since Hamas broke a weeklong ceasefire when it refused to hand over the last group of female hostages, plus two children, as part of an agreed-upon deal, The Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

In a new deal, Israel would reportedly demand the release of all women remaining in captivity, the sick and injured, older men and the elderly.

In return, it will offer a “more generous” number of Palestinian Arab security prisoners. (In the earlier deal, three security prisoners were released in exchange for each hostage.)

Families of abductees protested again in Tel Aviv on Saturday, a day after three adult male hostages were accidentally killed by IDF troops in Gaza City’s Shejaia neighborhood.

In a meeting on Sunday with representatives of the families, IDF Brig.-Gen. (res.) Gal Hirsch, the coordinator for the hostages and missing, and Innovation, Science and Technology Minister Ofir Akunis, Hirsch requested from the families, “Stop the protest. The government is doing everything to return them. You have no one to protest against.”

According to Channel 12, the representatives responded, “This is not a protest. We are not against the government but for the state doing everything to bring them back.”

Responding to the report, Hirsch said, “At the meeting of the families of the abductees with Minister Akunis, I replied to the questions of the families present at the meeting. I said that we are completely with the families, doing absolutely everything to return the abductees, and everything to bring a little relief and assistance to the members of the families.

“When I hear of a desire to protest I say there is no one to protest against because we are completely on your side and doing exactly the things you want us to do.

“The representatives of the families answered quietly that these are not protest actions but rallies—and I replied that the rallies are important and bring everyone together,” Hirsch said.

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