February 22, 2024

Israel held its breath on Saturday after Hamas delayed the return of hostages to Israel, alleging that Israel violated the ceasefire agreement mediated by Qatar. The Egyptians intervened by sending intelligence officers to the Gaza Strip to pressure Hamas to release the hostages. Dr. Shay Har-Zvi of the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at Reichman University explained that Egypt has leverage over Hamas as the only non-Israeli land connection to Gaza. Egypt aims to assert its role in the region and gain prestige. Qatar, on the other hand, has positioned itself as a key player by mediating between the US and Iran, improving relations with the US, and providing substantial aid to Hamas with Israeli approval. Qatar’s double interest in protecting Hamas is evident as it hosts their top officials and maintains a large American military base on its territory.