Talks on Gaza Cease-Fire Revive After Weeks of Deadlock – The New York Times

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The negotiations had been stalled for weeks until Hamas announced on Wednesday that it had exchanged some ideas with mediators on a new way forward.

Israeli negotiators traveled to the Gulf nation of Qatar on Friday for the first time in weeks to restart talks over a cease-fire deal that could end the war in Gaza and free the hostages held there, after weeks of deadlock in the negotiations.

David Barnea, the head of Israel’s Mossad foreign intelligence service, led the Israeli delegation to Doha, the Qatari capital, and met with Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatari prime minister, according to an official familiar with the visit.

Cease-fire negotiations had been stalled for weeks until Wednesday, when Hamas announced that it had exchanged some ideas with mediators on a new way forward. Both U.S. and Israeli officials said the revised Hamas position could allow for an agreement, but cautioned that a protracted and difficult series of deliberations lay ahead nonetheless.

“The head of the Mossad returned a short while ago from an initial meeting with the mediators in Doha,” the office of Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said in a statement on Friday night. “It was decided that next week a delegation will head out to continue the negotiations. It is emphasized that gaps still exist between the sides.”

Both sides would have to sort out the identity, number and conditions for the release of Palestinian prisoners who would be freed in exchange for the 120 living and dead hostages held by Hamas and its allies. They also would have to determine a sequence of steps for Israeli military withdrawal and how much control Israeli forces would have at different phases in the agreement.

A Palestinian man greets family and friends in Deir al-Balah in central Gaza on Monday after being released from Israeli detention. Bashar Taleb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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