Israel has agreed to four-hour daily humanitarian “breaks” in the northern Gaza Strip, according to the White House. These breaks are then announced three hours in advance. John Kirby, spokesman for the American National Security Council, announced this on Thursday. Hamas already announced that according to them no deal had yet been reached.
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The arrangement would come into effect on Thursday. Thanks to the breaks, relief supplies should reach the land strip. This would also allow citizens to move to safer areas, Kirby said. “Israel is obliged to fully comply with international law. We think these pauses are a step in the right direction.” The American official did not provide further details about the arrangement.
Kirby also suggested that the pauses provide an opportunity to safely remove hostages from the Gaza Strip. American President Joe Biden had spoken out in favor of these breaks, it said. The theme was discussed on Monday during a conversation between Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it was said.
It is not known whether agreements have already been made with Hamas regarding the release of the hostages.
Kirby emphasizes that the US is still not in favor of a general ceasefire. In the eyes of Washington and also of Israel, this would be to the advantage of Hamas. It could recover and regroup during such a period.
No deal reached
Taher Al-Nono, a political adviser to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, said on Thursday that unspecified negotiations were underway and that no deal had been reached with Israel so far. He gave no further details in a statement posted on the Islamist group’s Telegram channel.Israel stressed that it has not agreed to a ceasefire during its military campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, but will continue to allow short, local breaks to allow in humanitarian aid. “There is no ceasefire, I repeat, there is no ceasefire. What we’re doing, that four-hour window, is tactical, local pauses for humanitarian relief,” said Army spokesman Richard Hecht.