The Director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, the head of the Israeli Intelligence Service (Mossad), David Barnea, and the Qatari Prime Minister, Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, met with Egyptian officials in Cairo, on Tuesday, to discuss the truce situation in the Gaza Strip. According to the Egyptian media.
The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation said that the head of the Mossad, the head of the Shin Bet, and the advisor to the Israeli Prime Minister left Cairo after the end of negotiations over the hostage deal.
The talks were held in Egypt A day after Israeli forces liberated two hostages in… Rafah, The crowded southern city along the Egyptian border, in a raid that killed at least 74 Palestinians, according to local health officials, and caused significant destruction. The operation provided a glimpse of what a full overland advance might look like.
On the other hand, a ceasefire agreement would give people in Gaza a much-needed respite from the war, now in its fifth month, and provide freedom for some of the estimated 100 people still detained in Gaza. Qatar, the United States, and Egypt have sought to mediate an agreement in the face of the starkly different positions expressed publicly by Israel and Hamas.
Relatively significant progress
A senior Egyptian official said the mediators had made “relatively significant” progress ahead of Tuesday's meeting in Cairo of representatives of Qatar, the United States and Israel. The official said the meeting will focus on “drafting a final draft” of a six-week ceasefire agreement, with guarantees that the parties will continue negotiations towards a permanent ceasefire.
The Cairo talks were attended by CIA Director William Burns and David Barnia, head of the Israeli spy agency Mossad. Both men played a key role in brokering the previous ceasefire.
A Western diplomat in the Egyptian capital also said that a six-week agreement was on the table, but warned that more work was still needed to reach an agreement. The diplomat said Tuesday's meeting would be crucial to filling the remaining gaps.
The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss sensitive conversations with the media.
The Israeli Broadcasting Authority, Kan, announced on Tuesday that Israel had drafted a new draft of the proposed agreement to release the hostages, to be presented to the Cairo meeting discussing the truce in the Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian official told Reuters, “The parties are looking for an equation that is acceptable to Hamas, which demands that there be a commitment from Israel to end its war and withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip so that signing an agreement is possible.”
The official said that Hamas told the participants that it did not trust that Israel would not resume the war after the release of Israeli hostages held by Palestinian militants.
While officials did not reveal the exact details of the emerging deal, the two sides have discussed various proposals for weeks.
Israel proposed a two-month ceasefire under which the hostages would be released in exchange for the release of Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, and allowing senior Hamas leaders in Gaza to move to other countries.
Hamas rejected these conditions. A plan was drawn up in three phases, each lasting 45 days, during which the hostages would be released in stages. Israel would release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including major militants, and the war would end with Israel withdrawing its forces. This was seen as an unfortunate start for Israel, which wants to overthrow Hamas before ending the war.
But President Joe Biden indicated on Monday that an agreement may be within reach.
Biden said: “The main elements of the agreement are on the table.”