The White House announced earlier this evening that Israel would impose a daily four-hour break in fighting in the north of the Gaza Strip. During these breaks, civilians should be given the opportunity to leave the area where there is heavy fighting.
Israeli President Netanyahu’s office later denied that there were any pauses in fighting. “We will not stop fighting until all our prisoners are released,” the statement said.
Short, local breaks
Later, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant confirmed that “short, local” breaks would be taken, but that they had already occurred in recent days. According to Gallant, these pauses will not hinder the operation in the Gaza Strip and the fighting will continue as usual.
Israel does not want to talk about pauses in fighting, but talks about ‘humanitarian corridors’. Israel says these are the kinds of pauses that were supposed to be in place since Sunday.
Gallant insists that the war will continue until Hamas is defeated and all hostages are freed.
According to RTL News correspondent Olaf Koens, it remains to be seen what these combat breaks or ‘humanitarian corridors’ mean in practice. “For example, it could mean that at certain times there will be no fighting around Gaza City, but that there will still be bombing in the south,” he says.
The fact that Palestinians are given the opportunity to flee does not make their situation better, Koens emphasizes. “A million people are being told: you have to leave. That is a huge disaster,” he says. “Those who can flee do so, but there are also many people who cannot get away. We have seen people in wheelchairs trying to get away.”
“What could happen now is that Israel says: we have called on people to evacuate and anyone who does not do so is out of luck,” says Koens. “But the Gaza Strip is very small and you can’t get out. People have nowhere to go.”