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Biden speaks with Qatari emir about Gaza hostage release, aid efforts as war expected to shift gears

Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Dermer talks transition to lower intensity warfare

U.S. President Joe Biden meets with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC, January 31, 2022. (Photo: REUTERS/Leah Millis

U.S. President Joe Biden called the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani, on Tuesday to discuss the war between Israel and the terror organization Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The call came while Israel's Strategic Affairs minister and observing member of the War Cabinet, Ron Dermer, arrived in Washington to meet with U.S. officials about the war effort.

Biden and Al-Thani spoke about the latest developments in the war as well as the “occupied Palestinian territories,” according to a statement from Doha.

The Qatari statement added that the two leaders discussed joint mediation efforts to reach a permanent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

The U.S. and Qatar were instrumental in negotiating the previous truce deal in which Hamas released some 100 hostages in exchange for a pause in fighting for a week, and the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The White House added: “The leaders also discussed the ongoing efforts to facilitate increased and sustained flows of life-saving access to humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

The main topic of discussions about the war between the White House and the Israeli government is “how to wrap things up and on what timeframe,” a senior U.S. official told the Axios media outlet.

Dermer met National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan in Washington, where they spoke about “the transition to a different phase of the war,” as well as efforts to bring home the hostages and “planning for the day after,” a National Security Council spokesman said.

As Israeli officials expected the war to shift to a lower-intensity phase by the end of January 2024, according to Axios, Dermer and American officials discussed the management of the civilian population in Gaza during the long transition phase ahead.

On Tuesday, IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi said the war would continue for several months.

“The IDF is close to completing the dismantling of the Hamas battalions in the northern Gaza Strip,” Halevi said but cautioned that the war “takes place in complex territory – that’s why the war will continue for many more months.”

“There are no magic solutions, no shortcuts in the thorough dismantling of a terrorist organization, but stubborn and determined fighting. And we are very, very determined,” Halevi said, warning that Israel would eliminate Hamas leadership “whether it takes a week or whether it takes months.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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