Negotiations to secure the release of more hostages from Gaza are continuing, say Qatari mediators, but could be jeopardised by an Israeli ground offensive.
“If we can keep discussions going between both parties we should see some sort of breakthrough, hopefully soon,” Qatar’s foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told Sky News in a briefing in Doha.
A Qatari foreign ministry spokesman later said an escalation in Gaza including any land incursion would complicate high stakes negotiations about the fate of the hostages.
“To get them safely home depends on the right conditions,” he told Sky News.
Sources close to negotiations say the logistics of taking hostages from the places of their captivity to freedom would be made much harder if Israel goes in on the ground.
The Qatari foreign minister, who is also the state’s prime minister, gave his update alongside his Turkish counterpart.
Turkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan told reporters the war in Gaza is of a different order to previous conflicts there.
“This crisis is huge and there are many threats and differences with crises in the past in the Gaza.”
Both diplomats criticised Israel for what they called its “collective punishment” of civilians in Gaza and stressed there must be a political solution to the conflict and a ceasefire.
Israel insists its aerial bombardment is targeted at Hamas, despite the loss of thousands of civilian lives, and says it is taking action to defend itself after the slaughter of 1400 Israelis, many civilians, on 7 October.
The Qatari prime minister called out what he described as the “double standards” of the international community in condemning neither the killing of children in Gaza, and Israel cutting off the water supply and electricity.
“There is growing anger amongst everyone in this region who question the reaction of the International community for those crimes that are happening against Palestinian people,” he said.