Israel has agreed to implement daily four-hour humanitarian pauses in the conflict in northern Gaza, allowing civilians to evacuate, according to an announcement from the White House. The first pause will be initiated on Thursday, with Israel committing to providing at least three hours notice before each four-hour window. During discussions over the release of captives held by Hamas, US President Joe Biden had requested a pause exceeding three days but ruled out a comprehensive ceasefire.
The US National Security Council’s spokesperson, John Kirby, clarified that these pauses are not intended as a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, as it could legitimise actions taken by the Palestinian group on October 7. Biden had urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to institute these daily pauses, acknowledging that it took longer than hoped.
While Israel emphasised it hasn’t agreed to a ceasefire, the country will allow tactical, local pauses for humanitarian aid, according to Israeli military spokesperson Richard Hecht. Ongoing negotiations between Hamas and Israel were confirmed by Taher al-Nono, a political adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, although no specific details were provided in the statement.
Reportedly, these pauses aim to facilitate the release of captives held by Hamas, deliver essential supplies such as medicine and food, and allow individuals with dual nationality in Gaza to evacuate. Additionally, the United States intends to send 150 aid trucks to Gaza daily, as highlighted by the reporters.