Israel Removes Negotiation Team From Qatar Following Hostage Negotiations’ Deadlock

Supported by Egypt and the US, Qatar assisted in mediating the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.

While airstrikes hit Gaza sites and Palestinian organisations fired rocket volleys, Israel and Hamas dismissed international calls to extend the ceasefire that had ended on Saturday. Over the northern part of the Palestinian state, smoke once more obscured the sky. The Hamas leadership reported that since the cease-fire early on Friday, fighting had restarted, 240 Palestinians had died. Palestinian organisations Hamas and Islamic Jihad declared “rocket barrages” against three Israeli towns close to Gaza, while the Israeli military’s Home Front Command reported 40 missile alerts in the south and centre of the nation. Eight weeks of fighting have resulted in the displacement of an estimated 1.7 million people in Gaza, or around 80% of the population, according to the UN. Thirty bodies, including seven children, have been added to the mortuary at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City since this morning, according to chief physician Fadel Naim. Nemr al-Bel, 43, told AFP, “The planes bombed our houses: three bombs, three houses destroyed,” and he said that he had counted 10 dead in his family and “13 more still under the rubble”. In addition to many homes being destroyed, the community lacks food, water, and other necessities. UN organisations have declared a humanitarian crisis, even though on Saturday several relief vehicles did show up. The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported that Israel had instructed NGOs not to send relief convoys across the Rafah border crossing from Egypt after the truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed on Friday. However, the organisation announced on social media on Saturday that several trucks had been sent over by its Egyptian colleagues. The armistice, which had allowed the release of 80 Israeli captives in return for 240 Palestinian inmates, broke down, and both sides pointed the finger at the other.

The truce was mediated by Qatar, with support from Egypt and the US. However, Israel announced on Saturday that it was taking its negotiators out of Doha following a breakdown in negotiations to secure a fresh ceasefire. “Following the impasse in the negotiations and at the direction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, David Barnea, head of the Mossad, ordered his team in Doha to return to Israel,” the office of the Israeli leader stated. “Stepped-up efforts to reach a lasting ceasefire” are needed to liberate all captives, permit the entry of more supplies, and guarantee Israel’s security, according to French President Emmanuel Macron. According to Israeli authorities, during an unprecedented attack on October 7, Hamas fighters breached Gaza’s militarised border into Israel, killing over 1,200 people—mostly civilians—and kidnapping about 240 Israelis and foreigners. In response, Israel declared it would destroy Hamas and launched an air and military campaign that, according to the Hamas leadership in Gaza, has killed over 15,000 people, the majority of them civilians.

Israel’s air, naval, and ground troops have hit almost 400 sites in Gaza since the conclusion of the truce, the army announced on Saturday. According to military numbers previously disclosed, the number is roughly in line with the daily average number of strikes prior to the suspension. According to the military, aircraft attacked “more than 50 targets in an extensive attack in the Khan Yunis area” in the southern part of Gaza. Members of an Israeli armoured brigade, according to the IDF, “eliminated terrorist squads and directed fire against terrorist targets in the north of the Gaza Strip” in another incident. Hamas has been firing rockets against Israel from Gaza ever since the ceasefire ended. Humanitarian organisations and world leaders denounced the resumption of hostilities.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his “deep regret that military operations have resumed in Gaza” on X, the previous Twitter platform. Also, fighting started up again on Israel’s northern frontier. Hezbollah, a Lebanese organisation that shares Iranian support with Hamas, reported that two of its members perished in Israeli strikes on Lebanon on Friday. The attacks came as its militants continued to hit Israeli targets after the truce ended. The IDF reported that its artillery had targeted the sources of “launches” coming from Lebanon.

Syria said that on Saturday, Israel conducted airstrikes close to Damascus. The strikes on “Hezbollah sites” killed two Syrian militants who supported Hezbollah, according to a war monitor stationed in Britain. Israel is accused by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard of murdering two of its men who were allegedly on a “advisory mission” in Syria.

In October of last year, Hamas declared that ties with the Syrian government had been restored. Since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Israeli attacks on targets in Syria have became more intense. During the week of the hostage-prison exchanges, Israeli families were reunited with their released relatives in tears, while Palestinians were freed from Israeli jails, causing great joy in the streets of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. In separate agreements, 25 additional hostages—mostly Thais—were also set free. More than a dozen women were among the 136 hostages the Israeli army reported were still being held in Gaza on Friday. For the families of those who had not yet been let free, the conclusion of the pause represented deep disappointment.

Ilan Zharia, the uncle of Eden Yerushalmi, 20, one of the women who are still being kept captive, stated, “We saw a chance for people to come out, be reunited with their families and resume their old lives.” Israel reportedly informed Romania that one of the Romanian-Israeli hostages had passed away in Gaza. A map of Gaza’s “evacuation zones” has been released by the Israeli military, allowing locals to relocate “from specific places for their safety if required.”

On Friday, residents of Gaza received SMS texts alerting them to the impending arrival of “a crushing military attack on your area” with the intention of destroying Hamas. However, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, questioned the map’s applicability, claiming it does not provide directions for travellers.

“It is unclear how those residing in Gaza would access the map without electricity and amid recurrent telecommunications cuts,” said OCHA.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *