Qatar’s Foreign Ministry conveyed on Sunday that a “period of calm” in Gaza is deemed essential for its mediators to secure the release of Israeli prisoners held by Hamas. Majed Al Ansari, Qatar’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, emphasized that any prospects for hostage release must be contingent on a sustained period of tranquility. He noted that such an environment conducive to hostage release has been absent for an extended duration.
Earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had declared that Israel would not halt its military operations unless Hamas released the Israeli prisoners in their custody.
Qatar, in collaboration with the United States, has been at the forefront of mediation efforts between Hamas and Israeli authorities concerning the release of prisoners since October 7.
Qatar’s Prime Minister expressed concerns on Sunday that these negotiations were at risk of faltering due to ongoing Israeli military actions and the circulation of misinformation about the talks.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, shared his apprehensions during a press conference in Doha, where he was joined by his French counterpart. He highlighted the potential threats to the mediation process, including the dissemination of erroneous reports and leaks regarding the negotiations and the complex circumstances on the ground arising from the Israeli military’s actions.
Majed Al Ansari reiterated the significance of the mediation channel, stating that it plays a vital role in efforts related to hostage release, the departure of foreign nationals, and various aspects of the ongoing mediation. He affirmed that, considering its importance, there was no compelling reason to close this channel at present.