| 1 December 2023, Friday |

Hamas, America, and the Qatari mediator: The complex path to hostage and aid release

Seven minutes and twelve seconds separated Biden’s talk about the release of American hostages held by Hamas on the one hand and his remarks about his negotiations with Israel to provide humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza on the other.

Seven minutes and twelve seconds in a 15-and-a-half-minute speech is enough time to show the sequence of priorities of the American administration.

The same sequence of talking points in Biden’s speech was followed by the course of events on the ground. Judith and her daughter, Natalie, were released by Hamas on Friday night, stating that the release was for humanitarian reasons, reducing the number of American hostages.

According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, there are still ten of their citizens with an unknown fate, some of whom may be held by Hamas.

A few minutes after ten in the morning the next day, Saturday, twenty trucks of humanitarian aid were released from Rafah towards Gaza.

These were “shuttle” negotiations between the Americans on one side and Hamas on the other, with a Qatari mediator playing a central role, and the result was a win-win situation.

The conditions for the release of others are still linked to the course of the military operation and the fate of the ground invasion, which seems to have been postponed under American pressure in an effort to recover more hostages.

  • LBCI