A delegation from Hamas is scheduled to travel to Cairo on Thursday to discuss a proposed truce in Gaza.
The delegation's visit comes after a meeting between Abbas Kamel, the head of Egyptian intelligence, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, CIA Director William Burns, and David Barnea, the head of Israel's Intelligence Agency (Mossad).
The meeting was held on Dec. 28 to negotiate an agreement between Israel and Hamas for the release of hostages held in Gaza and the implementation of a new humanitarian truce in the Israeli aggression on Gaza.
The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has confirmed that talks have been initiated by Egypt, Qatar, and the US, and have been deemed “constructive”. However, there are still significant gaps that need to be addressed in future meetings.
In November of last year, a temporary ceasefire agreement was brokered by Egyptian-Qatari-US mediation. This humanitarian truce lasted for a week and enabled the delivery of essential aid, including food and medical assistance, as well as the release of approximately 81 Israelis, some holding dual citizenship.
In exchange, 240 Palestinians, mainly women and minors, were liberated from Israeli prisons. It's worth noting that these Palestinians had faced no charges, while other foreign nationals were released outside the ceasefire framework.
The current ongoing talks are aimed at securing the release of over 100 Israeli detainees held in Gaza. In exchange, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli custody will be released, and both sides will strive to establish a lasting humanitarian truce.
Prior to the discussions, US President Joe Biden, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, and Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad had contacts addressing developments in Gaza, with the hope of furthering negotiations concerning the detainees.
These talks followed a visit by US Special Envoy for the Middle East, Brett McGurk, who signalled a commitment to substantial discussions on releasing the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza and achieving a humanitarian truce in the region.
Reports suggest that the ongoing discussions incorporate proposals from both Israel and Hamas. If sufficient progress is achieved, McGurk may return to the region to finalize an agreement.
This agreement is expected to be more comprehensive than last year's initial one and would contain two phases. The first would involve a 30-day cessation of hostilities and the release of women, the elderly, and the injured among the Gaza detainees.