Israel to dispatch team to Qatar for follow-up ceasefire talks next week

Jerusalem, July 6 : Chief of Israel’s Mossad spy agency David Barnea has returned from the Qatari capital Doha following an initial meeting with mediators, and a team will be dispatched next week to continue the negotiations, Israeli prime minister’s office announced Friday evening.

“It should be emphasised that there are still gaps between the sides,” said a statement from the Israeli prime minister’s office.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved the dispatch of a delegation for negotiations on a ceasefire deal with Hamas in Gaza and the release of hostages, a senior Israeli official told Xinhua on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that an official familiar with the hostage talks said that Mossad officials had told mediators that they are “optimistic” the Israeli cabinet will accept the ceasefire proposal currently under discussion.

According to Israel’s Channel 12 survey revealed Friday, when asked what is most important at this moment, 67 percent of the people interviewed said returning the hostages from Gaza, compared to 26 percent who said continuing the war in Gaza and 7 percent who said they didn’t know.

The recent development marks a renewed effort to negotiate an end to the nearly nine-month-long conflict, which, according to the Gaza-based health authorities, has resulted in the deaths of more than 38,000 Palestinians in the enclave.

Israel launched a massive offensive in the Gaza Strip following a Hamas rampage through the southern Israeli border on Oct. 7, 2023, during which about 1,200 people were killed and around 250 others taken hostage. (Agencies)

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