Israel to begin fighting pauses in decision Biden hoped would come sooner

US officials say Israel is opening two humanitarian corridors in Gaza to let people travel south.

US officials say Israel is opening two humanitarian corridors in Gaza to let people travel south. Photo: AAP

Israel will begin daily four-hour pauses in the northern Gaza Strip to enable Palestinians to flee hostilities in the coastal enclave, the White House says in what it calls a step in the right direction.

White House spokesman John Kirby announced the pauses and the opening of two humanitarian corridors in northern Gaza to allow Palestinians to seek safety from Israel’s military operations.

US President Joe Biden told reporters as he left the White House he had sought a longer pause than three days.

Asked if he was frustrated with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden said, “It’s taken a little longer than I hoped.”

The pauses emerged from discussions between US and Israeli officials in recent days, including talks Biden had with Netanyahu, Kirby said.

“We understand that Israel will begin to implement four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza each day, with an announcement to be made three hours beforehand,” Kirby told reporters.

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 of Gaza.

Israel has not agreed to any ceasefires during its military campaign against Hamas but will continue to allow brief, localised pauses to let in humanitarian aid, the Israeli military confirmed on Thursday.

“There’s no ceasefire, I repeat there’s no ceasefire. What we are doing, that four-hour window, these are tactical, local pauses for humanitarian aid,” army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht said.

Palestinian Hamas gunmen killed 1400 people and took 240 hostage during an October 7 incursion into Israel, Israel has said.

Israeli has responded with an air bombardment and ground invasion seeking to oust the Islamist group from Gaza.

Palestinian officials said 10,812 Gaza residents had been killed as of Thursday.

Hostage talks

In Doha on Thursday, the CIA and Mossad chiefs met with the Qatari prime minister to discuss the parameters of a deal for hostage releases and a pause in Hamas-Israel fighting in the Gaza Strip, a source briefed on the meeting told Reuters.

The outcome of the talks was unclear.

David Barnea, head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service, CIA Director William Burns and Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani held the meeting after Qatari mediators met officials from the Hamas political office on Wednesday night and discussed potential parameters of a deal.

The advantage of the trilateral meeting was to bring all three parties together at one table in real time to speed up the process, the source said.

A source told Reuters on Wednesday the talks touched on a release of 10-15 hostages in exchange for a one- to two-day humanitarian pause in the war that is devastating Gaza.

The armed wing of the Palestinian group Islamic Jihad in Gaza is prepared to release two Israeli hostages, a woman and a boy, for humanitarian and medical reasons once appropriate measures are met, a representative for the al Quds Brigades said in a recorded message on Thursday.

Kirby said the pauses could help with transitions for any hostage release, as well as for humanitarian purposes.

“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.

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.

Kirby said a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants is not in order because it would help Hamas and “legitimise what they did on October 7 and we simply are not going to stand for that at this time”.

Israel is also opening two humanitarian corridors in northern Gaza, Kirby said.

The first has been opened for a few hours for several days, allowing thousands of people to reach safer areas in the south, he said.

The second corridor, along a coastal road, will allow more people to reach safer areas in the south.


Topics: Gaza, Israel
Stay informed, daily
A FREE subscription to The New Daily arrives every morning and evening.
The New Daily is a trusted source of national news and information and is provided free for all Australians. Read our editorial charter.
Copyright © 2024 The New Daily.
All rights reserved.