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Head of Israeli intelligence in Qatar negotiated ceasefire with Hamas - Bloomberg

Head of Israeli intelligence in Qatar negotiated ceasefire with Hamas - Bloomberg Illustrative photo (photo: Getty Images)

In Qatar, an Israeli delegation led by Mossad chief David Barnea has concluded talks with Hamas aimed at reaching an agreement on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, according to Bloomberg sources.

According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the agency reports that the outcome is currently unknown, but the process is ongoing.

Bloomberg reports that Barnea was scheduled to meet with Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

The intelligence chief's visit follows Israel's receipt of a new proposal from Hamas, which could lead to the release of some hostages held in Gaza and a pause in hostilities.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office discussed Hamas' latest proposal on Thursday. He then had a 30-minute conversation with US President Joe Biden.

New proposal by Hamas

A Hamas representative, who requested anonymity, stated that the group is adhering to longstanding demands, including Israeli troop withdrawals and the return of displaced civilians to their homes in Gaza. However, the new proposal does not insist on an immediate full withdrawal of Israeli troops, according to Bloomberg citing Israeli Channel 13.

The agency notes that Biden failed to reach agreement on his plan, partly because Hamas insisted on a definitive Israeli soldier withdrawal from Gaza.

Israel opposes this, asserting that its military will not cease operations until Hamas is dismantled as both a military and governing organization. Netanyahu has supported the idea of a temporary ceasefire - possibly lasting for several weeks - as a means to secure the release of hostages taken on October 7, when Hamas militants attacked the country's south, sparking the conflict.

Biden's plan

In May, US President Joe Biden unveiled a peace plan aimed at ending the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office indicated it understood the plan as allowing Israel to continue the war until all its objectives are met, including the destruction of Hamas' military and leadership capabilities.

On June 11, Hamas provided its response to ceasefire mediators.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated that Hamas proposed numerous changes, some of which are deemed unworkable. Hamas denies this, accusing Israel of rejecting the plan.

President Biden does not anticipate an agreement to be signed soon. He noted the proposal has not been fully endorsed by either Israel or Hamas.