Washington, Nov 9 (EFE) – The United States said Wednesday that Israel has agreed to allow daily four-hour “humanitarian pauses” in the northern Gaza Strip to facilitate the departure of civilians.
In a call with reporters, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby announced that Israel has informed the US that there will be no military operations during these pauses, which will begin on Wednesday.
“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.
“We understand that Israel will begin to implement four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza with an announcement to come three hours in advance,” he added.
The spokesperson described the news as “significant first steps” and stressed that the US would “want to see them continued for as long as they are needed.”
He also said that Israel will open a second corridor for civilians to flee areas that are the main focus of the military campaign against Hamas, with a coastal road connecting to the territory’s main north-south highway.
He urged civilians to try to leave the “active” areas of the conflict, and said it was “crucial” that humanitarian aid be extended to the areas to which civilians are moving.
The White House spokesperson said that the pauses in the southern Gaza Strip had allowed the departure of thousands of people and the entry of humanitarian aid, but added that aid must increase.
He estimated that 106 trucks have entered southern Gaza through the Rafah crossing in Egypt, but he expects this number to increase as soon as possible.
“Israel makes its’ own decisions. It’s fighting an enemy that is embedded in the civilian population, using hospitals and civilian infrastructure in an effort to shield itself from accountability and to place the innocent Palestinian people at greater risk,” he said.
But he also insisted that Israel “has an obligation to fully comply with international law” and considered that these humanitarian pauses “are a step in the right direction, particularly to ensure that civilians have an opportunity to reach safer areas away from the act of fighting.” EFE