Behind the scenes: How the agreement on the Israel-Hamas truce was made

0 0
Read Time:8 Minute, 33 Second

This is the course of the discussions that took place between Egypt, Qatar, Israel, and Hamas.

The Qatari government requested the formation of a small team of experts to assist in the release of the detainees, shortly after the Hamas organization seized hostages during their murderous attack on southern Israel on October 7.

The announcement of a truce brokered by Qatar and Egypt and approved by Israel, Hamas, and the US marked the culmination of that endeavor, which had started in the days following the capture of the detainees.

An deal was reached after two officials participating in the endeavor provided the Reuters news agency with detailed information.

This is how it transpired:

October 7
When Hamas launched a massive volley of missiles into southern Israel on October 7, sirens could be heard all the way from Tel Aviv and Beersheba.
Israeli media stated that armed men had taken hostages in Ofakim as the incident was taking place later in the day.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad said that it was detaining Israeli soldiers, and film purportedly depicting the transfer of detainees into Gaza was shared on Hamas social media platforms.
In one video, three young males were shown being marched past a security installation with Hebrew text on the wall while wearing vests, shorts, and flip-flops. Additional footage saw Israeli troops and female detainees being hauled off a military truck.
In response, Israel began bombarding the Gaza Strip for many weeks.
diplomatic reactions to the incident on October 7

Shortly after October 7, sources told Reuters, Qatar—a key friend of the United States—came to the White House with classified intelligence about the hostages and the possibility of their release.
The Qataris requested that a small group, or “cell,” be formed to deal with the Israelis in private.
During the weeks preceding the agreement, US President Joe Biden had many urgent meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as part of the covert endeavor.
McGurk and Josh Geltzer, another staffer from the National Security Council, were given instructions by Sullivan to form the team. According to the authorities, Qatar and Israel insisted on maximum secrecy, with only a select few being aware of this, therefore this was done without informing other pertinent US agencies.

US Middle East envoy Brett McGurk reportedly spoke with Qatar’s prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, every morning, according to reporting from Reuters. National security adviser Jake Sullivan received his reports from him, and Biden received regular updates on the procedure.

On October 13, Biden met with the relatives of Americans who were either missing or being taken hostage. It was an emotional and long encounter that gave Biden a firsthand glimpse at what the victims of the Hamas attack went through.
He stated, “They’re in excruciating pain not knowing what the status of their husbands, wives, kids, and sons or daughters is.” “You know, it hurts like hell. I reassured them that I would personally “do everything, everything possible” to guarantee the return of the Americans.
Biden went to Tel Aviv on October 18 to meet with Netanyahu. The official told Reuters that humanitarian aid and securing the release of prisoners were at the forefront of his talks with Netanyahu and his war cabinet.

October 20
Two elderly Israeli women are released after mediation by Qatar and Egypt. According to Hamas, Yokheved Lifshitz and Nurit Yitzhak, also known as Nurit Cooper, were freed on “humanitarian” grounds.
During a press conference on Tuesday, 85-year-old Lifshitz stated that while she was injured during the kidnapping, she received good care while in captivity. Husbands of both ladies are still in captivity.

October 23
Natalie Raanan, 17, and her mother Judith, 59, were two American prisoners who were freed five days later thanks in part to the efforts of the White House team.
Sullivan, US Middle East envoy McGurk, and Sullivan’s deputy Jon Finer saw the hostages’ arduous, multi-hour escape from Gaza in real time from outside their West Wing office.
With assistance from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), they were moved to Egypt via the Rafah crossing. They were taken to a military facility in Israel to be reunited with their family after meeting with Israeli security services in Egypt.
According to authorities, Biden felt more confident that Qatar could mediate the release of additional detainees after the two Americans’ return shown that it was feasible to secure the liberation of prisoners.
An increased effort was now underway to free additional prisoners. Mossad Director David Barnea and CIA Director Bill Burns started having regular conversations.

On October 24, just as Israel was about to begin a military invasion of Gaza, the US learned that Hamas had accepted the terms of an agreement to free women and children, which would cause the ground attack to halt and be delayed.
US and Israeli officials discussed whether to postpone the ground attack.
Since there was no evidence of the detainees’ survival, the Israelis contended that the restrictions were not strict enough to warrant a delay. It was only when the fighting stopped that Hamas said they could identify who was being detained.
The administrations of the US and Israel saw the Hamas position as hypocritical. Israel’s invasion strategy was modified to include a delay in the event that an agreement materialized, an unidentified source told Reuters.
Three days later, on October 27, Israel intensifies its ground assault on Gaza.

30 October
A fifth individual, a soldier named Private Ori Megidish, was reportedly saved on October 30 during a ground operation inside Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
According to Abu Obeida, the soldier was not detained by the Qassam Brigades; instead, it was plausible that she was being kept in Gaza by private citizens or other groups.
“Drag teeth”
For the following three weeks, Biden held in-depth discussions with each other as ideas on a possible exit from captivity were exchanged. It was demanded that Hamas provide the identities, names, and release assurances of all the prisoners it was detaining.
According to sources, contact was difficult and communications had to be sent from Doha or Cairo into Gaza and back before being conveyed to Israel and the US. The process was drawn out and at times seemed to go agonizingly slowly.
As per a CNN report, an official remarked at the time, “Every step of this is like pulling teeth.”
When the phasing of releases started to take shape, Biden and the prime minister of Qatar had a previously unannounced phone conversation, the official told Reuters.
The deal that was taking form called for the first phase of the release of women and children from captivity, along with a corresponding release of Palestinian detainees held by the Israelis.
The Israelis demanded that Hamas guarantee that every woman and kid emerges at this stage. Acknowledging this, the US side went through Qatar to obtain identification documents or evidence of life for women and children detained by Hamas.
Although Hamas declined to provide a comprehensive list of the prisoners, it did guarantee that 50 would be taken in the first round.
On November 9, CIA director Burns met with the leader of Qatar and Mossad’s Barnea in Doha to review the draft agreement.
At that moment, the main challenge was that Hamas had not made it apparent who it was detaining.
Three days later, Biden contacted Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, and asked to know the names of the 50 detainees as well as their clear identifying details, such as their ages, genders, and countries.
The person told Reuters that without the information, there was no foundation on which to proceed.
Not long after Biden’s conversation, Hamas released information about the 50 prisoners it had promised to free in the first stage of any agreement.

November 14
Reuters claims that Biden called Netanyahu and pleaded with him to accept the agreement. Netanyahu concurred.
That same day, McGurk visited Netanyahu in Israel. According to one of the sources, as Netanyahu left a meeting, he grabbed McGurk’s arm and declared, “We need this deal.” He also pushed Biden to speak with the Qatari emir about the details of the agreement.
Discussions broke up when all communications in Gaza stopped.
Biden was in San Francisco for an Asia-Pacific meeting when they reconvened. Officials added that he made contact with the emir of Qatar and collaborated with him to exert pressure on Israel and Hamas to finalize the agreement.
November 18: The prime minister of Qatar and US Middle East envoy McGurk met in Doha. Director of the CIA Burns was called in following his conversation with Mossad. The final gaps in reaching an agreement were determined at the meeting.
With an anticipation of future releases and the goal of returning all hostages to their families, the deal was now set up such that women and children would be liberated in the first phase.
November 19
McGurk met in the morning in Cairo with Abbas Kamel, the head of Egypt’s intelligence services. Leaders of Hamas in Gaza said that almost all of the agreements reached the previous day in Doha had been approved.
There was just one more matter to resolve, according to the officials: how many prisoners would be freed in the initial round and how the agreement would ultimately be structured to encourage releases of more than the 50 known women and children.
After a series of follow-up discussions, the agreement was eventually finalized.

22 November
A temporary ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas was reached on November 22 in order to facilitate the release of the prisoners.
Netanyahu commended Biden for his efforts to include more hostages and less concessions in the agreement prior to the meeting to discuss it.
James Dorsey, an honorary fellow at the Middle East Institute of the National University of Singapore, told Al Jazeera that “it took significant US pressure to get this deal done, which really tells you what it’s going to take in terms of US pressure to get something more permanent in place, if not a transition to Palestinian self-rule of some kind.”


0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %
0 %