In response to calls from President Joe Biden, Israel has agreed to implement daily four-hour humanitarian pauses in its military operations against Hamas in northern Gaza, starting this Thursday. The decision follows a Monday call between President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The announcement, confirmed by the White House, also revealed that the Biden administration has secured a second pathway for civilians to flee the conflict. U.S. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby stated that Israel has committed to announcing each four-hour window at least three hours in advance.
President Biden, during negotiations related to the release of hostages held by Hamas, had requested a pause longer than three days. However, he ruled out the possibility of a general ceasefire. The move is seen as a diplomatic effort to address the humanitarian crisis and allow for the safe evacuation of civilians caught in the crossfire.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had previously warned Israel about the potential consequences of not improving humanitarian conditions in Gaza swiftly. He emphasized that the current situation could drive Palestinians toward radicalism and undermine any prospects for future peace talks.
French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking at a Gaza aid conference on Thursday, appealed to Israel to prioritize the protection of civilians. Macron highlighted the equal value of all lives and stressed that counter-terrorism efforts should adhere to established rules.
The international community’s focus on the humanitarian aspects of the conflict reflects growing concerns about the impact of the violence on civilians. The implementation of daily humanitarian pauses and the commitment to facilitating civilian evacuations aim to alleviate the immediate crisis while preserving the possibility of future peace talks.