Home News Qatar says Israel struggling to unite over Gaza peace terms – The...

Qatar says Israel struggling to unite over Gaza peace terms – The Mercury News

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Fiona MacDonald | (TNS) Bloomberg News

Qatari mediators looking to secure a cease-fire in Gaza say Israel hasn’t yet put forward a position that’s supported by the full coalition government, complicating efforts to halt the near eight-month war.

Hamas hasn’t given a clear reaction either to the peace plan presented by U.S. President Joe Biden on Friday, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Majed Al-Ansari said at a briefing on Tuesday, though he added the two sides may be edging closer to a deal.

“We are waiting for a clear Israeli position that represents the entire government in response to the U.S.’s Gaza proposal,” Al-Ansari said. “We have read and seen the contradictory statements coming in from Israeli ministers, which doesn’t give us much confidence of there being a unified position.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long been striving to balance pressure from international allies such as the U.S. to end the war with demands from his right-wing coalition partners to continue until Hamas has been destroyed. He’s also under pressure domestically to secure the return of hostages taken by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attacks, with more than 100,000 people protesting over the weekend.

Despite Israel’s coalition wranglings, Qatar has received a proposal from Netanyahu’s administration that reflects Biden’s positions, Al-Ansari said. This has been delivered to Hamas, he said.

“The paper is now much closer in positions of both sides,” Al-Ansari said. “We are now using our best efforts to finalize an agreement.”

Qatar, the U.S. and Egypt have been mediating talks between Israel and Hamas for months without success, with the two sides far apart in their demands to end the war. Biden presented a three-phase plan on Friday that he said was put forward by Israel, though Netanyahu quickly pushed back against that idea.

—With assistance from Kateryna Kadabashy.

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