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Israeli captives’ families refute claims of leaking Netanyahu Qatar tape

Top NewsIsraeli captives' families refute claims of leaking Netanyahu Qatar tape
Families of Israelis held captive in Gaza have refuted claims that they were behind the leak of audio in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Qatar’s role in the negotiations with Hamas for the release of the captives.

Denial of Involvement in the Leak

Haim Rubinstein, a spokesperson for the families, emphasized that all conversations in meetings with the Prime Minister are recorded by his office and associates present at the meeting. He further clarified that the families participating in the meeting had their phones taken at the entrance, denying any involvement in the leak. The families have expressed concerns regarding the leak, describing it as a “grave issue” that indicates a loss of control.

Prime Minister's Office's Blame Game

In response to the leak, the prime minister’s office initially blamed one of the family members. The office insisted on having evidence in the form of a text message from one of the family members present at the meeting, as reported by Israeli media outlet Walla.

Netanyahu's Criticism and Its Impact

The leaked audio revealed Netanyahu’s criticism of Qatar’s involvement in the release of captives, deeming it “problematic.” He also expressed dissatisfaction with Qatar’s financing of Hamas and the extension of a military base in the Gulf state by the United States. This criticism has drawn a strong reaction from Majed Al-Ansari, the spokesperson for Qatar’s foreign ministry, who expressed being “appalled” by the remarks.

Background of Captivity and Negotiations

The captives were taken by Hamas fighters during an attack into southern Israel, resulting in significant casualties. Subsequently, extensive negotiations facilitated by Qatar and the US led to the release of over 100 captives in late November. However, approximately 130 captives are still held by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, and discussions continue in pursuit of a new release agreement.
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Impact on Mediation Efforts

Al-Ansari highlighted that Netanyahu’s leaked comments could hinder the mediation process and emphasized the importance of prioritizing the lives of innocent individuals, including the Israeli hostages. The spokesperson criticized the Israeli prime minister for potentially obstructing and undermining the mediation process for political reasons instead of prioritizing the preservation of lives.

Conclusion

The controversy surrounding the leaked audio and the subsequent denial by the families of Israeli captives sheds light on the complexities and sensitivities involved in negotiations related to captive releases. The impact of political criticisms and leaks on such delicate matters underscores the need for transparency, discretion, and a concerted focus on humanitarian considerations in conflict resolution processes.
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