CIA Director William J. Burns landed in Qatar on Tuesday for a high level meeting with the country’s Prime Minister and Israel’s spy chief aimed at brokering an expensive deal between Israel and Hamas, said three people familiar with the sources.
Burns is focused to push Hamas and Israel to broaden their focus of their ongoing negotiations, thus far limited to women and children, to encompass the release of men and military personnel too.
He is also seeking a longer multiday pause in fighting while taking into account that Israel has stated that truce to continue as long as Hamas release at least of its hostages on a daily basis, said people familiar with the matter.
Crucially, Burns has been pushing a deal for Hamas to release the American hostages, which as per the American authorities are eight to nine.
While the CIA declined to comment on the director’s trip, a U.S. official said he visited Doha “for meetings about Israel-Hamas conflict including continued discussion on hostages.”
The director has emerged as one of the key players as negotiator in the hostage crisis. He is also valued by President Biden for his arrayed contacts across Middle East and also within Israel’s intelligence service.