Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office dismisses a White House statement that says Israel has agreed to a daily four-hour humanitarian pause in northern Gaza starting today.
With an announcement made three hours ahead of time, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says Israel has agreed to implement four-hour humanitarian pauses in northern Gaza each day.
“We’ve been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause, and that this process is starting today,” Kirby says.
While this is the first time the US has announced this policy, Israel has been implementing these pauses since Sunday, opening a daily four-hour humanitarian corridor on Salah a-Din road for Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza to its south. However, it has been referring to the policy as a “humanitarian corridor” and not “humanitarian pauses,” ostensibly sensitive to the limited political appetite in Israel for the IDF to be holding its fire while the hostages remain in Gaza.
Nonetheless, the localized pause has been implemented each day. On Wednesday, it was extended by one hour, and on Thursday, it was six hours due to the large number of Palestinians seeking to leave the area.
The IDF estimates that on Wednesday alone, some 50,000 Palestinians used the corridor to head south.
Because Israel has not described the holding of its fire to allow for the evacuation of Gazans from the north as “humanitarian pauses,” it appears to have sparked backlash, leading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office to issue a statement saying that the IDF’s fighting is continuing and that there will not be any ceasefire without a return of the hostages.
“The fighting is continuing and there will be no ceasefire without the release of our captives,” the Prime Minister’s Office says in a statement. “Israel is enabling safe corridors from the Strip’s north to its south, as 50,000 Gazans did only yesterday.”