In a press conference held on Tuesday, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman, Majed bin Mohammed Al-Ansari, called for immediate action from Israel and Hamas to reach an agreement for the release of hostages taken during the October 7 attack.
“The deteriorating situation in Gaza is a cause for grave concern, and we believe that there is no other option for both sides but to engage in this mediation process and work towards a glimmer of hope in this dire crisis,” stated Al-Ansari during the press conference in Doha.
The Gulf state has been at the forefront of negotiations to secure the release of hostages and establish a temporary ceasefire following the deadly attack by Hamas on southern Israel over a month ago. The attack resulted in the loss of approximately 1,200 lives, predominantly civilians, and the abduction of around 240 hostages who were taken back to Gaza.
In response to the attack, Israel launched a sustained bombardment of Gaza, followed by a ground invasion, resulting in the loss of an estimated 11,240 lives, the majority of whom were civilians, including thousands of children, according to the Hamas-run government in the territory.
On Monday, Hamas announced that Israel had requested the release of 100 women and children hostages in exchange for 200 Palestinian children and 75 women currently held in Israeli prisons. A
bu Obeida, a spokesperson for Hamas’s military wing, revealed that Hamas had informed mediators that up to 70 hostages could be released “if we obtain five days of truce and the passage of aid to all of our people throughout the Gaza Strip.” Obeida cited the inability to secure a higher number of Israeli hostages for release, as some were held by different groups and factions. He accused Israel of delaying the process.
Israeli leaders have maintained that there will be no broader ceasefire until the hostages are released.
Al-Ansari refrained from commenting on the specific details of the hostage negotiations but conveyed Qatar’s continued optimism regarding further releases as it continues to mediate between Hamas and Israel.
Qatar, a wealthy Gulf emirate, hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East and serves as the main residence for Ismail Haniyeh, the self-exiled leader of Hamas. The nation has utilized its diplomatic channels with Hamas, established with US approval, to play a central role in securing the release of four hostages thus far.