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Monday, November 20, 2023, 09:44
Qatar: Good progress made in mediation between Israel, Hamas
By Xinhua
Monday, November 20, 2023, 09:44 By Xinhua

Palestinians fleeing the fighting in Gaza walk on Salaheddine road in the Zeitoun district of the southern part of the Gaza Strip on Nov 19, 2023. (PHOTO / AFP)

DOHA/GAZA - The Qatari foreign minister on Sunday said mediation efforts between Israel and Hamas are underway, with "good progress" being made in the past few days.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, also the prime minister of Qatar, made the remarks during a joint press conference in Qatar's capital Doha with Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, according to statements published by the Qatari Foreign Ministry on social media platform X.

The statements said in their meeting on Sunday, the Qatari minister and the EU official discussed ways of cooperation between Qatar and the EU to reach a lasting and peaceful solution to the Gaza crisis in political and humanitarian dimensions.

READ MORE: Israeli military says expanding ground offensive in Gaza

During the meeting, Al Thani affirmed that "our top priority is to achieve an immediate ceasefire and end all reprisal operations and indiscriminate attacks on the Gaza Strip," the statements added.

The Palestinian source said that Israel insisted on the release of all mothers and children detained by Hamas and conveyed a message that it was possible to discuss additional days of calm in exchange for the release of more abductees

The minister also underlined that "(what is) most important is to see humanitarian aid and assistance flowing into Gaza," expressing hope that a deal would be reached in this regard as soon as possible to facilitate it.

‘Two suggestions’

Meanwhile, a Palestinian source said Qatar has presented Israel with "two suggestions" on the hostage deal with Hamas.

The source, who requires anonymity, on Sunday told Xinhua that the first suggestion is for Hamas to release 53 children and women in exchange for a three-day ceasefire and the entry of a certain amount of fuel into the Gaza Strip.

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The second suggestion is for Hamas to release 87 hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian women and children and some security prisoners, a ceasefire for five days, and the entry of a larger amount of fuel, the source added.

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip walk through the flooded street after rainfall next to a UN displacement camp in the southern town of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Nov 19, 2023. (PHOTO / AP)

The source said that Israel insisted on the release of all mothers and children detained by Hamas and conveyed a message that it was possible to discuss additional days of calm in exchange for the release of more abductees.

Since the Israel-Hamas conflict erupted on Oct 7, Qatar has been making efforts to mediate between the warring parties, secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, and deescalate the situation in Gaza. 

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On Friday, Israeli National Security Council head Tzachi Hanegbi told reporters that a limited ceasefire could occur only after "a massive release of our hostages ... and it will be limited and short because after that we will continue to work towards achieving our war goals."

The source noted that Hamas demanded that Israel stop flying reconnaissance aircraft over Gaza during the days of the ceasefire so that it could arrange the field details within the framework of hostage release.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a press conference on Saturday night that there is no deal reached yet on the release of Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip. 

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