Top News

William J. Burns, the director of the C.I.A., was expected to arrive in Doha, Qatar, this week for talks about achieving a cease-fire in Gaza.Credit…Nathan Posner/Anadolu, via Getty Images

William J. Burns, the director of the C.I.A., was expected to arrive in Doha, Qatar, this week for talks with regional officials about achieving a cease-fire in Gaza, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the spy chief’s travel.

The trip by Mr. Burns, the lead American negotiator, to the Gulf country comes amid a renewed effort to broker an agreement to stop the fighting and release hostages in Gaza following months of failed attempts. Brett McGurk, the White House’s Middle East coordinator, was also returning to the region this week for meetings in Cairo, a second U.S. official said.

A speech by President Biden last week outlining the terms of what he said was a new Israeli offer raised hopes among Israelis and Palestinians that a deal to pause the nearly eight-month war was finally imminent. But statements by Israeli and Hamas officials in recent days suggested that a breakthrough was still elusive.

One of the biggest gaps between Israel and Hamas has been over whether a cease-fire deal would lead to a lasting truce. Mr. Biden said Israel’s proposal would ultimately lead to the “cessation of hostilities permanently,” comments that were welcomed by Hamas. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected ending the war without first destroying Hamas’s governing and military capabilities.

Qatar, a lead mediator between the two sides, is “waiting for a clear Israeli position that represents the entire government,” a spokesman for the Qatari foreign ministry, Majed al-Ansari, said on Tuesday.

The first phase of the proposal laid out by Mr. Biden called for both sides to observe a temporary six-week cease-fire, while they continued to negotiate to reach a permanent one.

At a news conference on Tuesday, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman, said the most recent Israeli position communicated to the group didn’t include a permanent cease-fire or a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, both terms that Hamas has insisted on. Israel, Mr. Hamdan said, was interested in only a temporary cease-fire to free hostages, and would then resume the war.

He said that Hamas had informed mediators that the group could not approve an agreement that doesn’t provide for a permanent cease-fire, a total withdrawal of Israeli troops and a “serious and real deal” to exchange Palestinian prisoners for hostages.

“We call on the mediators to get a clear position from the Israeli occupation,” he said.



Source link

Leave a Reply

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