Israeli Hostage Negotiator Gal Hirsch Ineffective in Recent Talks
In recent hostage negotiations involving Israeli captives, Gal Hirsch, the newly appointed Israeli hostage envoy, has been largely ineffective, according to diplomatic sources. Hirsch’s appointment by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu occurred following Hamas’s assault on Israel, resulting in casualties and hostages.
Reports indicate that Mohammad al-Emadi, Qatar’s envoy for Gaza and the hostage portfolio, attempted to contact Hirsch for a week but received no response. Despite this, Qatar proceeded with efforts to secure the release of hostages without Hirsch’s involvement. Critics accused Hirsch of inserting himself into a photo op with the released hostages, even though he had no role in their release.
Furthermore, Hirsch faced backlash for lecturing foreign ambassadors on their governments’ approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict instead of discussing efforts to release captives. This behavior led to criticism from the Israeli security establishment, with anonymous defense officials questioning Hirsch’s suitability for the job.
Key negotiations involving Israel and Hamas were conducted through other channels, sidelining Hirsch. Despite a scheduled meeting with hostages’ families, controversy arose when political allies allegedly joined the discussion, raising concerns about the safety of the captives.
Hirsch’s appointment drew scrutiny due to his lack of diplomatic experience, limited Arabic proficiency, and ties to Netanyahu’s Likud party. Additionally, he faced an outstanding indictment for tax evasion, raising concerns about his suitability for the sensitive role of a hostage envoy.
In response to these developments, the Movement for Quality Government submitted an urgent appeal to cancel Hirsch’s appointment, citing concerns about his political connections and lack of required clearances.
Despite these challenges, negotiations between Israel and Hamas continue, with efforts to secure the release of hostages ongoing through alternate channels.