US, Qatar, and Egypt Mediators Play Key Role in Israel-Hamas Ceasefire Talks, As Deal Looms on the Horizon

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A breakthrough in ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas has been reported, with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorizing his negotiators to engage with mediators in Doha, Qatar, over the coming days. The development marks a significant shift after Hamas’s initial rejection of President Joe Biden’s ceasefire proposal in late May.

According to a senior Biden administration official, Hamas’s latest response represented a critical impasse-breaking moment. The official described the revised proposal as a “significant adjustment” to Hamas’s previous stance, indicating a possible opening for a deal.

In a phone call on Thursday, Netanyahu and Biden discussed the latest developments in the ceasefire talks. The White House readout of the call noted that the two leaders discussed the recent response from Hamas and the Prime Minister’s decision to authorize his negotiators to engage with U.S., Qatari, and Egyptian mediators.

Despite the promising developments, a senior administration official stressed that a deal is not imminent. “This does not mean this deal is going to be closed in a period of days,” the official cautioned.

The United States, Egypt, and Qatar have served as mediators in the more than eight-month-old conflict, which has seen devastating war in Gaza and significant human suffering. The fighting has resulted in the deaths of roughly 35,000 people, with the exact breakdown between civilians and combatants unknown. Food insecurity and displacement have become pressing concerns for the population of Gaza.

While Israeli officials have indicated that the war in Gaza is winding down and much of Hamas has been defeated, the group continues to carry out operations against Israel. The conflict began in response to Hamas’s largest terrorist attack on Israel, which occurred on October 7, 2023, and resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people, many of whom were civilians.

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza has seen the release of around 100 hostages during the November ceasefire. It remains unclear how many of the remaining hostages are still alive.

President Biden outlined a proposal on May 31, which would have initiated a six-week ceasefire and seen Israel withdraw its forces from population centers in Gaza, the international community surge humanitarian aid into the strip, and Israel release a large number of detained Palestinians. However, Hamas did not accept the proposal.

The critical issue preventing many previous ceasefire agreements was the question of whether the deal would allow for a lasting ceasefire or permit Israel to continue its military operations once the initial phase ended. Both leaders have welcomed the meeting between their national security teams, set to take place on July 15.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is scheduled to address Congress on July 24.

Mike Brest
Mike Brest
Defense Reporter. Prior to joining the defense beat, he spent two years covering breaking news, and he worked at the Daily Caller in a similar capacity before that. Mike graduated from American University and is originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia.

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