update deskIsrael at War

Netanyahu talks hostage negotiations with visiting CIA chief

CIA Director William Burns first met with Mossad head David Barnea.

CIA Director William Burns. Source: CIA/X.
CIA Director William Burns. Source: CIA/X.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted CIA Director William Burns at his office in Jerusalem on Wednesday afternoon for talks on the ongoing indirect hostage negotiations with Hamas.

Burns first held a private discussion with Mossad head David Barnea before they both joined the meeting with Netanyahu.

Burns reportedly also visited the headquarters of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) and met with its director, Ronen Bar, per Ynet.

Israel sees no signs of a breakthrough in Egyptian-mediated negotiations on a hostages-for-ceasefire-and-terrorists-release deal, a source in Jerusalem told Reuters earlier on Wednesday.

However, the official said the mid-level delegation dispatched by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday will stay in Cairo for now.

The Israel Defense Forces launched a limited military operation in eastern Rafah on Monday night, shortly after Hamas claimed it had accepted a ceasefire deal proposed by mediators, in what Israeli officials described as “an exercise by Hamas meant to present Israel as the refuser.”

Netanyahu reiterated on Tuesday that the terms proposed by Hamas, which Egypt and Qatar devised without consulting with Jerusalem, are still “very far” from what his War Cabinet deems acceptable.

The United States did not inform Jerusalem in advance of Hamas’s “acceptance” of the hostage deal proposed by Cairo and Doha, Axios reported on Tuesday, citing three Israeli officials.

Upon reading the Hamas statement, Israeli officials reportedly were surprised to see “many new elements” that were not contained in the proposal to which Israel had agreed and which was presented to Hamas by the American, Egyptian and Qatari mediators 10 days earlier.

According to one source, Burns and other Biden administration officials knew about the changes to the proposal but didn’t inform Israel. The new text was finalized at Doha on Monday morning with Washington’s knowledge.

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