Qatari Diplomat Confirms Israel’s Indirect Talks with Hamas
The Qatari representative to the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Al-Emadi, has confirmed that Israel and Hamas have been holding indirect negotiations centered on finding a resolution to several issues including the humanitarian crisis, the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of the Gaza Strip and the urgent need to build infrastructure. During an interview with a Chinese news agency, Al-Emadi confirmed that the talks are taking place with American knowledge and involvement but did not describe the level to which the United States is involved in the talks. The other half of the Palestinian people, located in the West Bank and represented by the Fatah faction and the Palestinian Authority, has disqualified the US from participating in the peace process because it accuses the Trump team of being an extension of Israel. The official position of Jerusalem has been to deny it negotiates with terrorist organizations in general and Hamas in particular, but this time the Israelis are not trying to hide the fact that talks are under way. One issue to watch is whether agreement to end the blockade of Gaza emerges. If so, any resulting deal would be significant. The new revelation is only part of a great deal of rumored or revealed diplomatic activity in the Gaza Strip. Last week it became known that Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and the President of Cyprus struck deal whereby a seaport for use by residents of the Gaza Strip be built in Cyprus. That, and plans for Israel and the United States to oversee a large package of infrastructure is dependent on Hamas being willing to return the bodies of two Israeli soldiers it’s holding.