Netanyahu Orders Mossad Chief to Leave Qatar; ‘Dead End’ with Hamas

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the head of the Mossad intelligence agency, David Barnea, to return home from Doha, Qatar, on Saturday because negotiations with Hamas had reached a “dead end.”

Barnea had been leading Israel’s negotiations in Doha, meeting with leaders from Qatar and Egypt, as well as U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief William Burns.

David Barnea (Amos Ben Gershom / GPO/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty)

Director of Mossad, David Barnea (Photo by Amos Ben Gershom / GPO/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

In a statement, Netanyahu said:

Following the impasse in negotiations and the directive given by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Director of the Mossad David Barnea has instructed his team in Doha to return to Israel.

The terrorist organization Hamas did not uphold its part of the agreement, which included the release of all of the children and women according to a list that was given to Hamas and approved by it.

The Director of the Mossad thanks the Director of the CIA, the Egyptian Intelligence Minister and the Qatari Prime Minister for their extensive joint mediation efforts, which led to the release of 84 children and women from the Gaza Strip, along with 24 foreign nationals.

In a rare public statement, the Mossad said (via Times of Israel):

The Mossad says that a negotiating team that had been in Qatar has been ordered home with talks on extending a truce reaching a “dead end.”

“Due to the dead end in negotiations, and following instructions from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Mossad head David Barnea ordered the negotiating team in Doha to return home,” says a rare statement from Netanyahu’s office issued on behalf of the spy agency.

“The head of Mossad thanks the head of the CIA, Egypt’s intelligence minister, the prime minister of Qatar for their partnership and the tremendous mediation efforts that led to the release of 84 women and children from Gaza, in addition to 24 foreign nationals,” it says.

The negotiations had been key to the release of Israeli hostages, mostly women and children, held by Hamas. In return, Israel paused its military offensive in Gaza; allowed food and fuel aid into the northern and southern Gaza Strip daily; and released female and juvenile Palestinian terror convicts, roughly three convicts for every innocent Israeli civilian released by Hamas.

The Times of Israel summarized the hostage situation as of Friday morning:

Over the week-long truce, 105 civilians were released from Hamas captivity in Gaza: 81 Israelis, 23 Thai nationals and one Filipino.

Several of those freed have husbands and fathers still held in Gaza.

Still held hostage by Gaza terror groups when the truce collapsed were 136 people — 114 men, 20 women and two children. Ten of the hostages are 75 and older. The vast majority of the hostages, 125, are Israeli. Eleven are foreign nationals, including eight from Thailand.

Hamas broke a seven-day truce before it expired on Friday morning by firing rockets at Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip.

The decision to end negotiations will come at some political and international cost for Netanyahu. Families of the hostages still in Gaza want the Israeli government to do anything necessary to secure their release. Moreover, the U.S. and European nations want Israel to stop the fighting as soon as possible.

Though the U.S. formally backs Israel’s goal of destroying Hamas, it has privately told Israel that it wants the war over quickly, without major risk to Palestinian civilians, and that it wants to see the Palestinian Authority return to Gaza.

Israel has rejected that option, because the Palestinian Authority subsidizes terror, even if it also helps Israel patrol the West Bank. But the Israeli government has yet to present an alternative for governing Gaza after the war ends.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.


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