(AFP) Mediation efforts to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza and release Israeli hostages held by Hamas continue, despite persistent Israeli bombing, Qatar’s prime minister said on Sunday.
“Our efforts as the State of Qatar, together with our partners, continue. “We are not going to give up,” Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at the Doha Forum, although he added that sustained bombing is “reducing” the chances of this being achieved.
Israel launched an offensive in Gaza in response to the attack by fighters of the Islamist movement Hamas on its territory on October 7, which left 1,200 dead, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.
According to the Hamas-ruled Ministry of Health, the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip caused at least 17,700 deaths, mostly civilians and mostly women and children under 18 years of age.
Qatar is a key mediator in the negotiations that managed to establish a seven-day truce, in which dozens of hostages taken by Hamas in Israel were freed in exchange for imprisoned Palestinians. In addition, humanitarian aid was allowed to enter.
“We are going to continue, we are committed to freeing the hostages, but we are also committed to stopping the war,” said the Qatari prime minister.
The Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, denounced this Sunday in the same forum the “paralysis” of the United Nations in the face of the conflict and regretted that the Security Council did not vote in favor of a ceasefire.
The Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohamed Shtayyeh, affirmed that the United States must “be held accountable” for the deaths of civilians in Gaza, after his veto of the UN resolution for a truce.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi accused Israel of dragging the region “into the ocean of death.”
“Israel simply believes that it can do it, that it does not have to be held accountable,” he said in Doha.