David Barnea set to recommence negotiations for Gaza hostages in Qatar this Sunday

The head of Israeli intelligence is expected to lead ceasefire talks with mediators, which resume in Qatar on Sunday in direct response to a new proposal from Hamas, a source close to the talks told Reuters on Saturday.

The talks between Mossad head David Barnea, Qatar’s prime minister, and Egyptian officials will focus on remaining gaps between Israel and Hamas, including over prisoner releases and humanitarian aid, the source said.

Israel said on Friday it would send a delegation to Doha but did not spell out when or who would take part. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was expected to convene the security cabinet before the talks.

Israeli officials were not immediately available to comment on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath.

Barnea was involved in previous significant pushes for a deal. A short-lived truce in November was agreed and came into effect after his participation in talks in Doha. His last meeting with Qatar’s prime minister in January led to a proposal for a temporary ceasefire that Hamas ultimately rejected.

Mossad chief David Barnea attends a ceremony marking Remembrance Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, on May 3, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Hamas’s ceasefire proposal

Hamas this week presented a new ceasefire proposal to mediators and Israel’s ally, the United States, that includes the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for freedom for Palestinian prisoners.

Repeated efforts to agree a ceasefire and exchange hostages for prisoners have fallen apart this year, despite mounting international pressure over the human cost of Israel’s ground and air assault in Gaza.