PM confirms agreeing to temporary pauses in Gaza, reiterates no ceasefire until captives freed

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Palestinians flee to the southern Gaza Strip along Salah al-Din Street in Bureij, Gaza Strip, November 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Palestinians flee to the southern Gaza Strip along Salah al-Din Street in Bureij, Gaza Strip, November 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirms that Israel has agreed to implement pauses in IDF operations in specific areas of northern Gaza to allow Palestinian civilians to evacuate.

“The fighting continues against the Hamas terrorists, but in specific locations for a given period of a few hours… We want to facilitate a safe passage of civilians away from the zone of fighting, and we’re doing that,” Netanyahu tells Fox News.

The premier continues to avoid using the “humanitarian pause” term being employed by the Biden administration, in an apparent effort to downplay a concession seen as less palatable to many Israelis, as long as Hamas continues to hold some 240 hostages. But a senior Israeli official who briefed The Times of Israel earlier today acknowledged that formalized humanitarian pauses are exactly what Jerusalem agreed to.

Netanyahu also reiterates that Israel will not agree to a more long-term ceasefire until the hostages are released.

The “tactical, localized” pauses that Israel agreed on Thursday to implement each day will build on the humanitarian corridor that the IDF began operating on Sunday to allow Gazans to evacuate from northern to southern Gaza, away from the most intense areas of fighting, the senior Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The new four-hour pauses will take place in a different northern Gaza neighborhood each day, with residents notified three hours ahead of time. They will be able to use this time to either evacuate to the south via the two humanitarian corridors that Israel has established or leave their homes in order to restock on food, medicine and other aid, the senior Israeli official said.

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