Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson, Majed al Ansari, has confirmed that military personnel held in Gaza by Hamas and other Palestinian groups will not be considered for release until all the civilian hostages have been freed.
This came as al-Ansari gave a press briefing in Doha with an update on the developments in the Israel-Gaza war.
He said, “The priority at this moment is civilian women and children” to be released, adding that “military men will come into discussion” after that.
Qatar is focused on further extending a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel beyond Wednesday, November 29, 2023, based on the group’s ability to continue releasing 10 hostages a day.
He noted, “Qatar is working with the concerned parties to have truce extended.”
The Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson divulged that Israel proved difficult in the negotiations process.
“The negotiations process is difficult from all aspects,” he said.
He added, “Each party has its own demands and reservations. We’re doing our best to sort things out, but the toughest party was Israel.”
Al-Ansari disclosed that Qatar cannot confirm the total number of captives held in Gaza.
“What we can only say with certainty is the number of captives being released,” he added.
Responding to reports of Israeli officials threatening to target Hamas officials in Qatar, Majed al-Ansari, the Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson pointed out the existence of international law.
“With the respect to the statement made by the Prime Minister about targeting and assassinating Hamas leaders in Qatar, there is something called international law.
“I cannot comment on these statements; there are many erratic statements [made] related to domestic affairs, and not only in Israel.”Majed al-Ansari
“Qatar is adamant to continue the mediation efforts regardless of these statements,” he asserted.
When asked whether Hamas will be part of the electoral process in the post-war era in Gaza, al-Ansari replied, “With respect to the union among the Palestinian factions, this is domestic affairs of the Palestinians and should be addressed by them.”
“However, we are not sparing any efforts to bring all the factions of the Palestinian people on one front,” he added.
CIA Director In Qatar
It was confirmed that CIA Director, William Burns is in Qatar’s capital for talks on the conflict.
Officials said that the discussions in Doha will include the issue of extending the Israel-Hamas truce and releasing more hostages.
It is said that Burns has played a pivotal role in securing the release of the hostages and has also undertaken several discussions with the mediators for the release.
It was reported that the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, David Barnea was also in Qatar to discuss the Israel-Hamas conflict and the hostages.
Another reason for Barnea’s trip is to lay the groundwork for future deals that could include the hostages who did not fall under the current agreement, including men and possibly soldiers.
Burns was slated to meet with Barnea.
Also on Tuesday, Jordan canceled Christmas festivities due to the Israel-Hamas war.
Christmas is a public holiday in Jordan, a Muslim-majority nation.
Jordan stated that the move came in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza.
The Jordan Council of Church Leaders said that congregations will forgo public tree lightings and other celebrations to focus on religious services.
Last week, the Bethlehem municipality in the occupied West Bank also announced that it would not hold traditional festivities in Jesus’s birthplace “in mourning and in honour” of Palestinians killed in Gaza.