February 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S., Egyptian, Qatari, and Israeli Officials End Talks Without A Deal

February 13, 2024 | Flash Brief

U.S., Egyptian, Qatari, and Israeli Officials End Talks Without A Deal

Latest Developments

Officials from the United States, Egypt, Qatar, and Israel met in Cairo on February 13 to try to outline a potential deal between Hamas and Israel. CIA Director William Burns, Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and Egyptian Intelligence Minister Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel participated, with the Israeli delegation of Mossad chief David Barnea and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar present only for the purpose of listening. The Wall Street Journal reported that a U.S. official said there was no breakthrough or breakdown in the negotiations.

The renewed talks came as Israeli media outlets reported that Hamas had walked back some of its demands from the previous talks that ended on February 7. The Biden administration had been pushing for renewed negotiations, with President Joe Biden speaking with Netanyahu by phone on February 11.

During a February 12 meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, Biden said that the United States was working on a deal that would free Gaza hostages in exchange for a six-week pause in fighting, “which we could then take the time to build something more enduring.”

Expert Analysis

“No one in Washington should be under any illusion that Israel will agree to a deal that forms the basis of a permanent ceasefire without first destroying Hamas. Israel might agree to a short-term ceasefire for hostages, but there is broad consensus across the political spectrum that the Israel Defense Forces must complete the military objective of destroying Hamas.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“Israel is faced with a challenging scenario in which it must navigate the delicate task of both bringing back all the hostages and ousting Hamas from power in the Gaza Strip. Hamas is aware of the tenuous situation Israel faces, and the terrorist group believes its only chance of maintaining power in the Gaza Strip is through a permanent ceasefire agreement. However, Israel is adamant that a permanent ceasefire is not an option and will only accept an agreement that does not include this stipulation.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Previous Hamas Demands Rejected by Israel

On February 7, Hamas and Israel rejected a truce framework that resulted from a previous round of talks. In its final draft of the framework, Hamas sought a commitment from Israel to end the war and pull its forces out of the Gaza Strip entirely — leaving Hamas in charge — in exchange for the terrorist group’s release of all its hostages over a 135-day period. Hamas also demanded that Israel release 1,500 jailed Palestinian terrorists and take steps to reduce its sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Netanyahu rejected Hamas’s proposal, saying during a televised speech that “submission to the ludicrous Hamas demands will not bring about the release of the abductees.” Netanyahu maintained that Israel “will make do with nothing other” than the total destruction of Hamas.

Israel Manuevers Towards Last Hamas Stronghold

After taking control of northern, central, and large parts of southern Gaza, including the city of Khan Younis, Israeli forces may soon begin operations in Rafah — a city close to the Gaza-Egypt border. The United States and other nations have expressed concern over potential Israeli operations in Rafah, the last remaining Hamas stronghold, where many Gazan civilians have fled. On February 12, Israeli special forces rescued two hostages from Rafah. Hamas continues to hold 134 hostages taken on October 7, according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari. The IDF believes 29 of them have already been killed.

Israel Rescues Two Hostages From Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas Threatens Hostages Over Israeli Operation Against Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Spurns Hamas Demands, Vows Total Victory in Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Blinken Visits Saudi Arabia to Broker Gaza Deal,” FDD Flash Brief


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