After the Egyptians came back from Israel and conferred with Hamas, it became clear the group wouldn’t go along with what Israel was agreeing to, one of the sources said. So the Egyptian official made significant changes to get Hamas to agree.

The day before Hamas made their May 6 public announcement agreeing to the proposal, an Egyptian source told CNN that Egypt had received Hamas’ response and relayed it to the Israeli side.

“Several alternatives and scenarios were proposed to overcome the main point of contention related to ending the war,” said the source.

The agreement’s language about ending the war has been perhaps the thorniest issue throughout the negotiations. But what Hamas sent back, Netanyahu said, “was very far from Israel’s core demands.”

It wasn’t long before the discussions stalled.

Negotiators, including Burns, returned to Cairo for one more round of indirect talks with Hamas. Israel agreed to send a team, as did Qatar, but neither sent senior officials, an indication that despite earlier optimism a deal would not be as imminent as hoped.

Two days after Hamas’ response on May 6, Burns returned to Washington and sources told CNN the talks were “paused.”

Mediators had hoped that a pause in the fighting would delay or even prevent a serious incursion into Rafah by Israel. Military operations by Israel in Rafah are now expanding despite protest by the Biden administration that they will threaten the hundreds of thousands of civilians who had fled there for safety.

If talks resume, it’s expected that the Qataris would play a bigger role in the next round, the second source familiar with the negotiations said. A re-launch of the negotiations does not appear imminent but if it were to happen Egypt would still be expected to be central given their essential proximity to Hamas, as well as Israel’s preference of Egypt to Qatar.

The discussions would still be expected to center on a broad framework that would include an initial stage in which up to 33 Israeli hostages would be released over at least 6 weeks. Hamas has been pushing to include the bodies of dead hostages in the initial release and also have the first phase flow into a second with no break. Both are positions Israel has resisted.

US officials have argued that Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar doesn’t actually want a deal since he may think he’s winning and the greater the Palestinian suffering the more the world turns on Israel. Critics of Netanyahu, including families of Israeli hostages, have accused him of being more concerned with removing Hamas from Gaza than getting his citizens home.


Why does Israel prefer Egypt as a mediator over Qatar? So Egypt was caught red-handed when it modified the clauses for the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel to get a deal through, but it is said that Israel would still prefer Egypt over Qatar as a mediating party. Is there a reason for this preference?

  • 6
    Answers may be a little obvious, but IDK why this is getting downvoted. TBH, they might prefer them a bit less now that Egypt has joined the ICJ case against Israel, although that may more of a cover for them closing the Rafah crossing. Commented May 22 at 18:34
  • Also, Egypt has contested the factual basis of the entire CNN report, but IDK if any downvoters were aware of this. Commented May 23 at 0:44

1 Answer 1


There a few reasons why Israel prefers Egypt over Qatar as a mediator.

  1. Other than a few nominal trade agreements, Israel has no diplomatic ties with Qatar. They do have a peace treaty with Egypt.
  2. Qatar is seen as sympathetic to Hamas. It is a base for Hamas leaders. Qatar is also a major financial backer of Hamas. Egypt’s government is opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood which Hamas has its origins in. Egypt also opposes terrorism.
  3. Egypt also borders Gaza. It is in their best interest for Gaza to be stable and not an endless launching pad for war. They certainly don't want a neighbor who will help the Muslim Brotherhood regain control in Egypt.
  4. Egypt has suffered a devastating economic impact from the war and would suffer another one were things to flare up again. Therefore they truly want it over. Conversely, Qatar is one of the few countries to benefit from it continuing. A year ago, how often did you hear from Qatar? How often are they mentioned now in the context of a Israel-Hamas ceasefire? For whatever reason this conflict is a cause célèbre around the world. The more it continues or reflares the more Qatar is a great influential world power. Once it is resolved they will go back into relative obscurity Therefore even if they do broker a ceasefire their motives and aspirations would be suspect.
  • 8
    4) Egypt and specially its military (which did put the current ruler off Egypt in power) is one of the biggest beneficiaries of USA foreign aid.
    – SJuan76
    Commented May 22 at 17:58
  • 17
    The bottomline is Egypt has skin-in-the-game for peace. Qatar demonstrably has no issue haboring, financing, and arguably promoting terrorists.
    – DogBoy37
    Commented May 23 at 13:05
  • 3
    Point 4 seems a little dubious to me, what material benefit or influence is Qatar actually gaining from the war continuing? Being mentioned more often doesn't seem like a great motivation.
    – Wossname
    Commented May 24 at 3:22
  • 2
    Qatar also hosts the media arm of Hamas (according to Israel) which is known as Al Jazeera. Commented May 24 at 12:23
  • 3
    One did hear quite a lot about Qatar about a year and a half ago, but that was in a different context. Commented May 24 at 12:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .