In a recent CNN interview, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made a startling revelation, acknowledging that Israel had played a role in constructing bunkers beneath Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital several decades ago. These tunnels, according to Israel, are currently being used by Hamas, a claim that has intensified the ongoing conflict.
The disclosure comes in the wake of Israeli accusations that Hamas has been operating from a complex network of tunnels within the Al-Shifa Hospital. Israel, however, has not provided concrete evidence to support these allegations.
Amanpour: "When you say [the bunker under al-Shifa] was built by Israeli engineers, did you misspeak?— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) November 21, 2023
Ehud Barak: "No, decades ago, we were running the place... we helped them to build these bunkers."
Amanpour: "Ok. That's sort of thrown me a little bit."pic.twitter.com/CTYfMij2V0
Simultaneously, negotiations between Hamas and Israel are progressing as they seek a temporary truce, with Qatar mediating the talks. The discussions are multifaceted, encompassing the duration of the truce, the logistics of aid delivery to Gaza, and the potential exchange of hostages. Should the agreement come to fruition, it could lead to the release of approximately 50 civilian hostages held by Hamas, as well as Palestinian women and children currently in Israeli custody.
The success of this potential deal hinges on the approval of Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas' political wing in Gaza, emphasizing the intricate diplomatic dynamics at play in the region.
As the conflict continues, the death toll in Gaza has surpassed 13,000, prompting international concerns about the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region. Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh indicated to Reuters that the militant group is close to reaching an agreement on a temporary truce, emphasizing the urgency of addressing the dire humanitarian situation.
The Qatar-mediated agreement, described as being in its "final stages," is viewed as a significant development, potentially marking the most extensive hostage release and the first prisoner swap since the conflict began on October 7. The complexity of the negotiations reflects the delicate balance between pursuing peace and addressing longstanding grievances between the two parties.
[Information sourced from CNN and Metro UK]