March 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Mossad, CIA Chiefs Meet About Stalled Hostage Talks

March 9, 2024 | Flash Brief

Mossad, CIA Chiefs Meet About Stalled Hostage Talks

Latest Developments

CIA Director William Burns met his Mossad counterpart to discuss the stalled Gaza hostage talks, with Israel voicing hope on March 9 that progress can still be made. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office publicized the March 8 meeting between Burns and Mossad Director David Barnea and added that “at this stage, Hamas is holding to its position as if it was uninterested in a deal and is striving to ignite the region during Ramadan at the expense of the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip.”

The statement, on behalf of Mossad, did not identify the venue of the Burns-Barnea talks. According to multiple media reports, the meeting was in Jordan. Jordan has custodianship over al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, often a focus of Ramadan tensions. “It should be emphasized that the contacts and cooperation with the mediators are ongoing in an effort to narrow the gaps and advance agreements,” the statement said, referring to Qatar and Egypt.

Hamas has failed to provide a list of hostages it proposes to release under any new Gaza truce. Hamas also failed to stipulate how many Palestinian terrorists it would want Israel to free, prompting Jerusalem to stay out of the last round of talks hosted in Cairo, Egypt. Hostage talks are expected to continue in Cairo next week.

Expert Analysis

“The likelihood that this meeting between the U.S. and Israeli spymasters was held in Amman, perhaps even in the presence of Jordan’s King Hussein, points to another possible and pressing agenda item: Efforts by Hamas, Hezbollah, and their Iranian patron to stoke regional conflict during Ramadan, in the name of al-Aqsa Mosque. Amman’s rhetoric during the Gaza war has been inflammatory, but now, Jordan must be the fire-fighter. It has a great deal of sway over the management and mood at al-Aqsa, atop the Temple Mount in the heart of Jerusalem. The Jordanians should do everything in their power — starting with the adoption of a more reasoned and restrained posture — to help Israel ensure that Ramadan passes quietly. This, in turn, may help contain the Gaza conflagration and encourage an eventual hostage deal.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“That Jerusalem and Washington see the door to a hostage release as still open suggests that Hamas’s departure from this week’s fruitless Cairo talks was not the last word. It also suggests that the threatened Israeli push in Rafah, which has stirred up public misgivings from the Biden administration, could be deferred — for now.” — Joe Truzman, Senior Research Analyst for FDD’s Long War Journal

Israel Demands Clarity from Hamas on Hostages,” FDD Flash Brief

Hostage Talks Continue in Qatar as Israel Prepares to Fight in Rafah,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Firm on Gaza Truce Terms,” FDD Flash Brief

Unless Hamas Releases Hostages, Israel to Push into Rafah During Ramadan,” FDD Flash Brief

Israel Rescues Two Hostages From Gaza,” FDD Flash Brief

Issues:

Arab Politics Egypt Israel Israel at War Jordan Palestinian Politics