On Thursday morning, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that starting today Israel will implement daily, four-hour humanitarian pauses in its attack on the terrorist group Hamas in Gaza. However, following the widely reported claim that Israel had agreed to four-hour humanitarian pauses beginning today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office dismissed the White House’s statement.
Kirby said the Israeli government stated they will suspend military operations during the four hours and they will announce three hours before the pause begins when it will start, CBS News reported, adding, “President Biden told reporters Thursday morning that he has asked Netanyahu for a pause even longer than three days for the release of hostages.” Israel has reportedly already been “implementing these pauses since Sunday, opening a daily four-hour humanitarian corridor on Salah a-Din road for Palestinians to evacuate northern Gaza to its south,” The Times of Israel reported.
Following the announcement from the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office issued a statement saying, “The fighting continues and there will be no ceasefire without the release of our hostages. Israel is allowing safe transit corridors from the north of the Gaza Strip to the south, as 50,000 Gazans did just yesterday. We once again call on the civilian population in Gaza to evacuate to the south.”
President Biden and his administration have been pressuring Israel to implement the pauses. As far back as a week ago, Biden told an audience at a fundraiser in Minneapolis, “I think we need a pause,” then bragged, “I’m the guy that convinced Bibi to call for that cease-fire to let the prisoners out.”
Kirby said two days before that, “What we have said should be considered and explored are temporary localized humanitarian pauses to allow aid to get to specific populations and maybe even to help with the evacuation of people that want to get out, move more to the south” of Gaza. “We do support that. We do not support a cease-fire at this time.”
Regarding evacuating civilians from Gaza, reports have circulated that Hamas has been shooting civilians attempting to move toward the south to evade the fighting. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released satellite imagery that showed Hamas had set up roadblocks to stop cars from leaving northern Gaza.
Additionally, Hamas has hoarded fuel that might benefit its hospitals in order to use it for its rockets as well as electricity and ventilation for its underground tunnels where its terrorists are.
On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with the 252nd Sinai Division, which is operating in the northern Gaza Strip and was clear about Israel’s objectives.
“We must remember that in Beit Hanoun (city on the northeast edge of the Gaza Strip) is the battalion from which the terrorists came to murder and kidnap in Kibbutz Erez, Netiv Ha’Asara, and Sderot,” Gallant said, “This battle has meaning beyond the symbolic aspect. We need to ensure that all terrorist infrastructure in Beit Hanoun is destroyed. We will not stop, we will continue with all our might until we eradicate the Hamas organization – we will strike the entire chain of command, military depots, communications channels, tunnels, bunkers, and headquarters, everything.”
Referring to the horrific October 7 massacre executed by Hamas on the Israeli civilian population, he continued, “The answer to these brutal and barbaric acts is to wipe out Hamas. From here we will move on. If we don’t wipe out Hamas in Gaza, we will have ten more of these [massacres] from other places.”