White House National Security Council Spokesperson, John Kirby has announced that Israel will begin four-hour pauses in northern Gaza.
Kirby said that the pauses will be announced three hours beforehand.
Kirby revealed that the pauses emerged out of discussions between U.S and Israeli officials in recent days, including talks U.S. President Joe Biden had with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
He noted that the pauses would allow people to get out of harm’s way and for deliveries of humanitarian aid and could be used as a way to get hostages out.
“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.
“We’re glad to see that the Israel Defence Forces are willing to take this step.”John Kirby
He called the news a step in the right direction.
“We think these are significant first steps here and obviously we want to see them continued for as long as they are needed,” he added.
Moreover, Kirby stressed that a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants is not in order because it would help Hamas and “legitimize what they did on Oct. 7 and we simply are not going to stand for that at this time.”
He also asserted that the U.S wants to see at least 150 lorries carrying aid enter the Gaza Strip each day.
“We are aware that there will be difficulties and we all need to be prepared for the fact that there’s going to be days where we don’t make that goal,” he said.
Four-hour Pause Decried
According to Abdel Hamid Siyam, a Middle East expert at Rutgers University, the four-hour pause in fighting to allow civilians to flee south falls woefully short of the needs in Gaza.
“Pauses are not a solution,” he opined.
What is needed, he said, is a “ceasefire so that humanitarian aid can come in uninterrupted, that foreigners can leave the country, and maybe negotiations can take place.”
“If this is only a pause to allow people to move from the north to south, it did not work in the past, it will not work in the future. In four hours, people cannot come. They don’t have cars, they don’t have fuel. It’s not going to work.”
“There is mounting pressure on Israel now to open up for a real ceasefire, a real truce for a day or two or three. I think that is coming in the next few days.Abdel Hamid Siyam
The White House’s announcement that Israel will begin implementing four-hour pauses in fighting each day in the northern Gaza Strip was also criticized by an international charity.
It said that the pause offers “precious little” to the people in Gaza who have been “displaced, injured and traumatized” by a month of relentless bombardment.
In a statement, Riham Jafari, advocacy and communication coordinator for ActionAid Palestine, said, “What use is a four-hour pause each day to hand communities bread in the morning before they are bombed in the afternoon?”
Jafari added, “What use is a brief cessation in hostilities when hospital wards lie in ruins and when roads used to deliver medical supplies and food are destroyed?”
ActionAid called for a permanent ceasefire to help those whose lives are “hanging on by a thread.”
The statement noted, “While a humanitarian pause might offer a brief respite for a few days, it is nowhere near enough time to repair the damage to Gazan communities and their homes and lives.”