This decision seems to formalize a model of put an end to the violence to allow humanitarian aid is flowing into the enclave and allowing civilians to flee the fighting.
For a few days, Israel suspended violence for hours during which he allowed civilians to evacuate to the south. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted in a statement Thursday evening that there would be “no ceasefire” without the release of hostages held by Hamas.
John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, called the agreement allowing four-hour breaks a positive “first step” toward easing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. He said Israel would announce the timing of breaks three hours in advance.
“The Israelis have told us that there will be no military operations in these areas for the duration of the pause and that process begins today,” Kirby said, calling it “a step in the right direction “.
Speaking shortly afterward at Joint Base Andrews, President Joe Biden said he had pressured Netanyahu to accept to much longer pauses in violencenotably during a phone call on Monday.
“I’ve been asking for a pause for well over three days,” Biden told reporters, later adding, “I’ve been asking for an even longer pause for some of them.”
And when asked if he was frustrated with Netanyahu for his back-and-forth on humanitarian pauses, Biden hinted at some discord.
“It took a little longer than I hoped,” he said.
Kirby said Israel’s decision to allow four-hour breaks came after “a considerable commitment by the administration to try to ensure that humanitarian aid can get in and people can get out safely.” security “. He added that the breaks would provide “brief windows of opportunity” for the safe passage of hostages held by Hamas.
“We urged the Israelis to minimize civilian casualties and do everything they can to reduce those numbers,” Kirby said, saying they would provide “breathing space for a few hours” for civilians to recover. protect from danger.
Israel has warned civilians to move to southern Gaza as it attacks targets in the north, a task that proved difficult – if not impossible – for many Palestinians in the enclave. Civilians do not have able to leave Gaza in large numbers since the start of the war; groups of foreign nationals and some injured Palestinians were recently allowed to leave the enclave.
In a series of posts on social media platform and aid trucks successfully delivered to Gaza. the war-torn region.
The president called on Israel “to distinguish between terrorists and civilians and to fully comply with international law” in its fight against Hamas, adding that the pauses are “a step in the right direction.”
A senior Israeli official told CNN that the Israelis are calling these four-hour windows “localized tactical pauses” that will take place each day in a specific area. A neighborhood or area will be notified several hours in advance that it will pause to give northern residents the opportunity to travel south for help and relief.
Israeli strikes continue in southern Gaza and southern neighborhoods may also be subject to pause notices so residents can also go out and get relief, the official said.
The official argued that seeing people leaving northern Gaza in recent days heading south is an indication that Hamas is losing its grip.
When asked when these breaks would begin, the manager replied “very soon.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken reached a tentative agreement on the breaks after his meetings in Israel last week, even though Netanyahu spoke out against the idea of humanitarian pauses on Friday, U.S. officials told CNN. This was seen as a play by the Israeli prime minister in favor of his coalition and officials noted that it was similar to the time when the Israeli government opposed humanitarian aid to Gaza before deciding to ‘to allow.
“Every step is like pulling teeth,” one official said.
Although Israel has such pauses in place before, U.S. officials view this agreement as progress because Israelis use the language of “pauses,” which the United States believes it can rely on. The U.S. administration also feels the announcement adds some accountability if Israel violates the deal, because Israelis cannot pretend they never agreed to it.
Kirby added that the United States would like the daily breaks to continue for as long as humanitarian aid to Gaza is needed.
This story has been updated with additional reporting.