Israel will initiate daily four-hour pauses in the military assault on the northern Gaza Strip to allow Palestinians to escape the ongoing conflict in the coastal enclave, according to a statement by White House spokesperson John Kirby on Thursday.
As reported by Reuters, Kirby stated the Israelis have informed the U.S. there won’t be any military actions in these areas during the pause, and this initiative is starting Thursday, which he said he views as “steps in the right direction.”
President Joe Biden made it clear to reporters the option of a long-term ceasefire is not being considered, as Washington believes it would favor Hamas.
The statement caused some confusion with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who responded there would be no “ceasefire” unless hostages were released, as reported by the Times of Israel.
IDF officials also said it had already been enacting humanitarian pauses since the beginning of the week, adding that ehese tactical, localized pauses will not be announced to residents ahead of time to prevent Hamas from exploiting them.
Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told reporters these planned pauses are an extension of Israel’s humanitarian corridor policy, providing four-hour windows for civilians to move from the northern to the southern part of Gaza, where conditions are relatively safer and humanitarian aid is available.
On the hostage negotiations front, Reuters reported the U.S. CIA director and the Israeli Mossad director held a meeting with Qatar’s prime minister to discuss the matter.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog denied the existence of any substantial proposals from Hamas regarding the release of hostages in exchange for a pause in the conflict, as stated during an interview with NBC News.
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad extremist group has issued propaganda videos showcasing two Israeli captives in its custody within the Gaza Strip.
These individuals have been identified as Hannah Katzir, 77, and Yagil Yaakov, 13, both of whom were seized from Kibbutz Nir Oz Oct. 7. They communicated in Hebrew, blaming Netanyahu for the ongoing circumstances.
On Tuesday, the French government announced the 39 French nationals had died during the Hamas attacks with 9 of them missing.
The Biden administration expressed its frustration with Netanyahu for temporary cease fire as the Israeli prime minister kept his word to attack Hamas.
Biden has stated there’s no possibility of a ceasefire in Gaza.
In the Republican primary debate on Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has stated he wouldn’t support a ceasefire.
Produced in association with Benzinga
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