Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and IDF Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi met with top Qatari officials during the first week of February in order to work on a deal with Hamas, Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman revealed on Saturday night.
The visit lasted less than 24 hours, Walla reported, quoting anonymous Israeli officials calling it a very high-level and serious meeting.
Liberman’s remarks violated an IDF Military Censor order against reporting news of the visit, which Walla reporter Tal Shalev said she had uncovered two weeks ago.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Liberman lacked judgment.
“He’s a guided missile,” Netanyahu said at a Likud event in Rehovot. “This doesn’t help him politically, so apparently he has other reasons to try to bring about our downfall."The hint is very clear. He is making a deal: He will vote for [Blue and White leader Benny] Gantz, who will go with Meretz and [Labor leader Amir] Peretz, and they will form a government that leans on the Joint List.”
Yisrael Beytenu said that Liberman was not aware of the censorship order.
Qatar is keeping Hamas above water financially with periodic payments, which Israel has been allowing.
It appears there were contacts between Israel and Qatar regarding the payments as well as prior, quiet intelligence ties between the two countries before that channel was opened.
The report did not indicate whether any progress was made. No serious progress is expected until after the March 2 election.
Hamas has generally lessened its violence against Israel since an intense round of fighting between Israel and Palestine Islamic Jihad of Gaza in November, but has continued to maintain some violent actions, especially since the Trump administration peace plan was released.