Israel is contemplating temporary halts in its military operation in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Tuesday. These “tactical little pauses” are meant to allow for humanitarian aid and the release of hostages, despite Netanyahu’s firm stance against a general ceasefire.
The announcement comes after over a month of intense conflict following a deadly Hamas raid on southern Israel, which resulted in over 1,400 Israeli deaths and the capture of more than 200 hostages. The subsequent Israeli military campaign has led to significant Palestinian casualties, with Gaza health officials reporting over 10,000 deaths, including approximately 4,100 children.
“There’ll be no cease-fire, general cease-fire, in Gaza without the release of our hostages,” Netanyahu stated in an interview with ABC News. He explained that Israel has previously implemented short breaks in combat to facilitate humanitarian efforts: “As far as tactical little pauses — an hour here, an hour there — we’ve had them before.”
Israel’s military asserts that they have encircled Gaza City and targeted Hamas militants, with recent operations including airstrikes in Khan Younis and Rafah, resulting in at least 23 Palestinian fatalities.
One survivor, Ahmed Ayesh, pulled from the rubble where 11 others were killed, spoke out against the Israeli actions: “This is the bravery of the so-called Israel, they show their might and power against civilians.”
International outcry has escalated, with U.S. President Joe Biden discussing the potential for brief pauses and the release of hostages in a call with Netanyahu, while emphasizing the need for civilian protection.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has also raised alarms, describing Gaza as a “graveyard for children,” and calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
The Israeli military has shared footage of its operations around Gaza City and claims to have neutralized a Hamas military hub in the northern Gaza Strip. Chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari mentioned efforts to dismantle Hamas’ command capability, with strikes against militants near the al-Quds Hospital planned.
As the conflict rages, the UN Security Council has yet to agree on a resolution after multiple failed attempts, with disputes over the language concerning ceasefires or pauses for humanitarian aid.
Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has informed some Canadians in Gaza that they may begin exiting through the Rafah crossing into Egypt. Meanwhile, at the G7 foreign ministers’ meeting in Tokyo, Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa indicated plans to call for a pause in the fighting to facilitate humanitarian access.
The Biden administration is reportedly preparing a $320 million transfer of precision bombs to Israel, reflecting ongoing U.S. support.
In a broader regional context, Israel also reported engaging Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, marking the most intense confrontation since the 2006 war between the two.