(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Israel has agreed to begin daily four-hour pauses in fighting in northern Gaza to allow people to flee hostilities, the White House has announced, in what it called a step in the right direction.
US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said the first humanitarian pause would be announced on Thursday, adding that Israel had committed to announcing each four-hour window at least three hours in advance.
“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,” Kirby said.
US President Joe Biden told reporters that he had asked Israel for a “pause longer than three days” during negotiations over the release of some captives being held by Palestinian group Hamas, but he ruled out the chances of a general ceasefire.
Kirby made clear that there would be no ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, saying it would help the Palestinian group “legitimise what they did” on October 7, “and we simply are not going to stand for that at this time”.
Biden had asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to institute the daily pauses during a call on Monday.
Biden, when asked if he was frustrated by Netanyahu over the delays in instituting humanitarian pauses, said, “It’s taken a little longer than I hoped.”