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Why Israel's hostage deal with Hamas is not a permanent cease-fire

The negotiations that led to the deal for the expected release of 50 Israeli hostages, however excruciating, do not mean that Israel has given up on toppling Hamas in Gaza.
Israeli soldiers wait in their vehicle in an area in Southern Israel near the Gaza Strip on November 22, 2023 amid the ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. (Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP) (Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images)

TEL AVIV — The deal announced early Wednesday for the release of some 50 children and women held in Hamas captivity for the past 45 days was worked out after weeks of nerve-wracking Qatari-mediated negotiations that engaged several parties. The list of those personally involved in the efforts reads like a Who’s Who of global diplomacy and spy craft. 

President Joe Biden and his top foreign policy aides, CIA Director William Burns, national security adviser Jake Sullivan and other senior White House and State Department figures were involved. On the Qatari side, Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani was personally engaged in the talks, as were senior members of his administration. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the heads of Egyptian intelligence were also intensely active.

In Israel, those instrumental in the efforts included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Galant, retired generals and war cabinet members Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Mossad Director David Barnea and Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar. Senior negotiating teams headed by retired military brass Nitzan Alon and Gal Hirsch dealt with the nitty-gritty of the complex deal with the assistance of former Mossad head Yossi Cohen. 

US mediation

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