According to the White House, Israel will begin instituting “4-hour pauses” in military operations in northern Gaza on Thursday.
According to John Kirby, White House National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, Israel will begin implementing the pauses on Thursday and will give civilians three hours warning.
The announcement comes after President Biden requested Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a phone chat on Monday to implement daily pauses to allow humanitarian assistance to flow through and people to seek shelter or evacuate.
“We understand that Israel will begin to implement 4-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza each day, with an announcement to be made 3 hours beforehand,” Kirby said Thursday.
“We have 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,” he told reporters.
Kirby also stated that Israel was providing a second channel for people to evacuate the regions where its military assault against Hamas is now focused.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected demands for a cease-fire in Gaza unless Hamas releases captives, although he did say this week in an interview that he would entertain “tactical little pauses.”
Kirby told reporters on Thursday that pauses might help “reunite all 239 hostages with their families, including the less than ten Americans we know are being held.” So getting all of the hostages released is a wonderful limited aim.”
“Humanitarian pauses can be useful in the transfer process,” he went on to say.
During an interview watch on ABC News, Netanyahu said Israel agreed that it needed to “provide humanitarian assistance,” which he said Israel is already doing and is coordinating with the US.
“The President himself has said that a cease-fire would be a surrender to Hamas, would be a victory for Hamas and you would no more have it than you would have a cease-fire after the al Qaeda bombings of the World Trade Center,” Netanyahu remarked at the time. “There will be no cease-fire, no general cease-fire, in Gaza without the release of our hostages.”
“As far as tactical, little pauses, an hour here, an hour there, we have had them before,” Netanyahu added. I guess we will assess the situation to allow humanitarian aid or our captives, specific hostages, to depart, but I do not believe there will be a broad cease-fire.”
Netanyahu state further that “every civilian lost is a tragedy, every civilian life lost is a tragedy.”
“We’re fighting an enemy that is particularly brutal,” he said. “They’re using their civilians as human shields, and while we’re asking the Palestinian civilian population to leave the war zone, they’re preventing them at gunpoint. They’re using them as human shields.”
Since the ground offensive in Gaza began over a week ago, at least 30 IDF troops have been killed, in addition to the more than 1,400 people killed in Israel – most of them in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack that prompted the fighting. As of Monday morning, there have also been at least 242 hostages taken from Israel into Gaza.