Israel pulled Mossad negotiators from Qatar, which along with Egypt and the United States were brokering talks to secure a new ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war.
“After the breakdown of negotiations and at the direction of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, David Barnea, head of the Mossad, ordered his team in Doha to return to Israel,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement on Saturday.
The statement accused Hamas of not fulfilling its part of an agreement to extend the ceasefire in Gaza. The agreement includes the release of all women and children held in Gaza in accordance with a list forwarded to Hamas and agreed upon, the statement said.
Hours later, Hamas said there would be no further prisoner exchanges with Israel until the war in Gaza ends.
“Our official position is that there will be no further exchange of prisoners until the end of the war,” the group’s deputy head, Saleh al-Arouri, told Al Jazeera.
“Israeli prisoners will not be released until ours [Palestinian] the prisoners were released and after a ceasefire was fulfilled.”
“The rest of the Israeli prisoners are soldiers and civilians serving in the army,” he added.
The Hamas official said the group was ready to exchange “the bodies of dead Israelis in exchange for our own martyrs, but we need time to exhume these bodies”.
“The Israeli occupation insists that we are still holding women and children but we have released them all,” he said.
Reporting from Doha, Al Jazeera’s Ali Hashem said: “Due to the fact that the demands are now changing, the Israelis are demanding that Hamas should release the female soldiers.”
“For Hamas, that has a different price,” he said, referring to the previous deal of three Palestinian prisoners released for every captive held in Gaza under a week-long cease-fire that ended earlier in Friday. “The main issue is also that Hamas from the beginning sacrificed everything for everyone – the Israeli prisoners for all the Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
“Now, we are faced with this deadlock with the withdrawal of the Israelis. This does not mean that the negotiations are over. There may be another mediation and new ideas from different parties,” he said.
A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas collapsed after mediators were unable to extend it. The humanitarian pause saw the release of 80 Israeli hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners.
Israel and Hamas have exchanged blame for the collapse of the ceasefire.
Macron in Qatar
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron said France was “very concerned” about the continuation of violence in Gaza as he landed in Qatar on Saturday to help start a new truce.
Macron said in a press conference at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai that the situation requires doubling efforts to obtain a lasting ceasefire and the release of all hostages.
He also urged Israel to clarify its intentions with Hamas.
“We are at a moment when the Israeli authorities must more precisely define their goals and their ultimate goal: the total destruction of Hamas – does anyone think it is possible? If this is the case, the war will last 10 years,” he said.
“There will be no sustainable security for Israel in the region if its security is achieved at the cost of Palestinian lives and thus the anger of public opinion in the region. Let’s be collectively lucid,” added Macron.
Asked for a response to the comments, Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s senior adviser, told reporters that Israel does not want to see civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire as the wars continue.
“Israel is targeting Hamas, a brutal terrorist organization that has committed the most horrific violence against innocent civilians. Israel is making maximum efforts to protect civilians in Gaza,” Regev said.
Jabalia camp was hit again
But civilian deaths continue to rise in the enclave.
At least 100 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air strikes on the Jabalia refugee camp north of the strip on Saturday. Rescuers used their hands to dig through the rubble in search of survivors.
Palestinian authorities said at least 240 people had been killed since the shelling resumed early Friday.
Fadel Naim, chief doctor at al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, said his morgue had received 30 bodies since Saturday morning, including seven children.
“Planes bombed our houses. Three bombs, three houses destroyed,” Nemr al-Bel, 43, told the Agence France-Presse news agency, adding that he counted 10 dead in his family and “13 more are under in the rubble”.
The United Nations estimates that at least 1.7 million people in Gaza – 80 percent of its population – have disappeared since the war began on October 7.
Since then, Israel’s campaign in Gaza has killed more than 15,000 people, most of them civilians. In Israel, the official death toll is around 1,200.