Qatar is ‘cautiously optimistic’ after cease-fire talks with Israeli intelligence chief

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Jerusalem: Qatari officials were “cautiously optimistic” after talks with Israel’s intelligence chief in Doha aimed at trying to reach a cease-fire, Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari said on Tuesday at a news conference, stressing that an Israeli ground operation in Rafah would set back any talks.

Meanwhile, incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Mustafa laid out wide-ranging plans for a revitalised Palestinian Authority and an independent trust fund to oversee Gaza’s reconstruction in a mission statement acquired Tuesday by The Associated Press.

But the plans face major obstacles, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to any return of the PA to Gaza.

Fighting in the enclave has left at least 31,819 Palestinians dead, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which doesn’t differentiate between civilians and combatants in its count but says women and children make up two-thirds of the dead. A United Nations food agency warned that “famine is imminent” in northern Gaza.

Palestinian militants killed some 1,200 people in the surprise October 7 attack out of Gaza that triggered the war, and and abducted another 250 people. Hamas is still believed to be holding some 100 people hostage, as well as the remains of 30 others.


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