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The Israel-Hamas war is now in its sixth week and fighting is intensifying inside Gaza. On Tuesday, Palestinians trapped inside Gaza’s biggest hospital dug a mass grave to bury patients who died. Israel is encircling the hospital as they believe it sits atop an underground Hamas headquarters.

On Monday Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netenyahu said he’s open to “tactical” fighting pauses but not to a ceasefire until the more than 200 Israeli hostages held by Hamas are released. Behind the scenes, intense negotiations are taking place to facilitate the release of these hostages as well as help civilians trapped inside Gaza and a central figure in these talks is Qatar.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen is the Fellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy in Houston Texas. He’s on the show to explain why this tiny Gulf nation is acting as mediator in the Israel-Hamas war.

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