The White House said yesterday that despite President Joe Biden’s assertion that a comprehensive ceasefire was unlikely, Israel has agreed to regular four-hour military pauses in northern Gaza for humanitarian purposes.
After more than a month of battle since the strikes by Hamas on October 7, Biden has been pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for longer gaps in the hostilities, as reported by AFP.
White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the pauses were “significant steps forward” as fierce combat seized hold of Gaza City in the north of the Gaza strip.
Kirby told reporters, “Israel will begin implementing daily four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza, with an announcement made three hours beforehand.”
As of today, “we have been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas during the pause.”
He claimed the breaks would make it possible for humanitarian assistance to be delivered and for people to escape the violence.
Kirby also mentioned that Israel has established “humanitarian corridors” during the last two days, allowing “many thousands” to escape the worst-hit region of north Gaza to the south.
We want pauses to last as long as humanitarian relief is required, he added.
– Israel Plays It Down –
The Israeli military spokesperson, however, Richard Hecht, seemed to minimise the delays.
“It’s not a shift,” he assured the press. These are temporary, geographically constrained halts in operations to allow for the delivery of humanitarian supplies.
Israeli sources claim that 1,400 people were murdered and approximately 240 hostages were taken as militants from the Islamist organisation Hamas stormed over the Gaza border with Israel. Since then, fighting has raged.
More than 10,800 Palestinians, including many children, have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory bombing and ground attack, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
There has been an increase in demonstrations and appeals for a ceasefire from across the world, including one over the weekend that was directed at the White House. Biden, however, has ruled out a permanent ceasefire at this time.
“None. Biden told reporters there was “zero chance” of a ceasefire.
There are less than ten Americans being held prisoner in Gaza, and he claimed he was “still optimistic” that they may be released. We will keep going till we free them.
I’ve called for a halt longer than three days,” he told Netanayhu over the phone thereafter, confirming his earlier statement. His response on the question of whether he was annoyed with Netanyahu was, “it’s taken a little longer than I hoped.”
Since the assaults, the United States has stood solidly behind its critical partner Israel, declaring that Hamas must be removed from power in Gaza.
However, behind the scenes, the United States has been pressuring Israel to slow down its attack and come up with a strategy for what to do next, while openly demanding that the Israeli military respect the “laws of war” and protect civilians.
In October, Biden went to Israel to offer his support for the country. During his visit, he made the announcement that Egypt will allow assistance trucks to enter southern Gaza through the Rafah gate.
In recent days, Israel has continued its onslaught and surrounded the northern part of Gaza. On Thursday, they claimed to have fought for 10 hours to take down a bastion of Palestinian terrorists.
Repeated strikes on US soldiers by Tehran’s proxies in recent weeks have increased tensions, and Vice President Biden has cautioned Iran and its partner Hezbollah not to escalate the confrontation.
When asked why American aeroplanes had hit an Iranian-linked weapons complex in eastern Syria again on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said, “because they struck us,” adding that American troops will strike again “if we have to.”