As clashes between Israeli forces and Hamas escalate, with hundreds of Israelis held hostage, Palestinian militants have dismissed the possibility of a prisoner exchange with Israel. Following Hamas’s attack last Saturday, Israel has reported over 800 casualties.
Hamas has warned of the potential execution of hostages if Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip happen without prior notice to its inhabitants.
Qatar’s Role in Mediating Talks
According to AFP, Qatar is actively attempting to mediate a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, reacting to the Palestinian group’s abrupt retaliation to Israel’s actions in Tel Aviv. While discussions concerning the release of several individuals—detained during Hamas’s incursion into southern Israel—have made some progress, as per sources, Hamas officials maintain a stringent stance.
Hossam Badran, a Hamas official, stated unequivocally, “The military operation persists… thus, currently, there’s no room for negotiation concerning prisoners or any other matters.” From Doha, he emphasized the group’s dedication to curbing further civilian-targeted atrocities in Gaza by Israeli forces.
Casualties and Diplomatic Interventions
Israel’s unexpected offensive has resulted in at least 800 fatalities, while Gaza has mourned the death of around 687 individuals following retaliatory Israeli air strikes.
Qatar, a long-time supporter and host to a Hamas political office, is involved in brokering peace. In a recent broadcast from Qatar, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh projected optimism about an imminent “great victory” and demanded the liberation of Palestinian detainees.
Further emphasizing Qatar’s diplomatic engagement, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani discussed with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, underscoring Qatar’s comprehensive diplomatic endeavours to temper the ongoing crisis.