New Broker in Israel-Hamas Deal: CIA Chief

The US is taking a more direct role in trying to forge a deal between Israel and Hamas: President Biden is sending CIA chief William Burns overseas to participate in talks, reports the Washington Post. Burns is expected to leave for Europe in the next few days to meet with officials from Israel, Egypt, and Qatar, the latter two nations having emerged as key players in any potential agreement. One deal reportedly in the works is that Israel would agree to a 60-day ceasefire in exchange for the release of most, if not all, of the remaining 100-plus hostages. Meanwhile, leaked audio of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu disparaging Qatar is not helping the situation.

“You don’t hear me thanking Qatar,” Netanyahu is heard telling the families of hostages in the audio played on Israeli TV, per the BBC. “They have leverage … because they finance [Hamas],” he adds, calling the nation’s role in talks “problematic.” Qatar says it is “appalled” by the comments, calling them both “irresponsible” and “not surprising,” per the AP. “If the reported remarks are found to be true, the Israeli PM would only be obstructing and undermining the mediation process, for reasons that appear to serve his political career instead of prioritizing saving innocent lives,” says a Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson. (Read more Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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