Israel agrees to daily four-hour “pauses” in Gaza airstrikes and fighting to allow civilians to flee, White House claims
Beginning on Nov. 9, 2023, Israel will allow four-hour daily “humanitarian pauses” in the war on Gaza to allow civilians to flee the embattled territory, according to the Biden White House.
In a statement this week, the “big guy” stated that there is “no possibility” of a formal ceasefire like much of the world is calling for right now because Israel is going to move forward with its agenda regardless. Biden also stated that his efforts to convince Israel to even just agree to these humanitarian pauses have “taken a little longer” than he expected.
Biden reportedly asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to institute these daily pauses during a Monday call, also asking that Israel first allow a full three-day pause for continued negotiations concerning the release of some of the hostages still being held by Hamas.
When asked by reporters if he asked for said three-day pause, Biden responded with a definitive “yes,” adding that he also “asked for an even longer pause for some of them.”
(Related: A proposed Biden plan that would have helped Israel ethnically cleanse Gaza more easily is a no go after Egypt shot it down.)
Israel allowed tens of thousands of Gazans to head southward with separate humanitarian pauses last week
It was National Security Council (NSC) spokesman John Kirby who announced that the first daily humanitarian pause of four hours will begin on 11/9, with Israel agreeing to announce each four-hour window at least three hours in advance.
Kirby also spoke about opening up a second humanitarian corridor for civilians to flee the areas of the Gaza Strip that Israel is currently focusing on in its military campaign against Hamas using a coastal road to join the territory’s main north-south highway.
There have been several short-term pauses in the days leading up to the new daily four-hour window that begins on 11/9, allowing tens of thousands of civilians to flee southward.
Israeli officials estimate that Hamas militants still hold about 239 hostages, including children and the elderly, from the initial attack on October 7 that left 1,400 Israelis dead. U.S. officials believe that fewer than 10 of these hostages are Americans.
The four-hour daily pauses, Kirby explained, will be useful in helping to get “all 239 hostages back with their families to include the less than 10 Americans that we know are being held.”
“So if we can get all the hostages out, that’s a nice finite goal,” Kirby added. “Humanitarian pauses can be useful in the transfer process.”
In a separate set of indirect talks with Qatar, which was involved in freeing four hostages last month, CIA Director William Burns visited Doha to discuss the possible release of even more of them in the coming days.
Kirby also added that the U.S. continues to have “active discussions with partners about trying to secure the release of hostages,” noting Qatar specifically as being helpful in the process.
“We know they have lines of communication with Hamas that we don’t,” Kirby said of Qatar. “And we’re going to continue to work with them and regional partners to try to secure the release of all the hostages.”
Unless Israel acts swiftly to improve humanitarian conditions in Gaza for Palestinian civilians, it risks destroying all future possibility of peace, warned Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Blinken issued a blunt call for Israel to pause all military operations in Gaza to allow for the immediate and increased delivery of assistance, arguing that Israel will only drive the Palestinians further towards radicalism if it refuses.
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