News Brief

Israel Announces 'Tactical Pause' Of Military Activity To Allow Humanitarian Aid Passage In Gaza

Kuldeep Negi

Jun 17, 2024, 04:24 PM | Updated 04:24 PM IST

IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari
IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari

In a significant development amid ongoing Gaza conflict, the Israeli military announced it will hold a daily "tactical pause of military activity" along a key route in southern Gaza to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid.

However, Israeli authorities stressed that there is no ceasefire, and combat operations in Rafah will continue.

The tactical pauses, which reportedly began on Saturday (15 June), are scheduled from 08.00 local time (05:00 GMT) to 19.00 local time, affecting only the route from the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Salah al-Din Road and onward to the European Hospital near Khan Younis.

A UN spokesperson welcomed the announcement but noted it had not yet resulted in increased aid on the ground.

Israel has faced mounting international pressure, particularly from the United States, to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"This announcement follows additional related discussions with the UN and international organizations," said an IDF spokesperson on Sunday.

The pauses aim to allow humanitarian aid to pass through a route starting from the Kerem Shalom crossing, a crucial entry point shared by Gaza and Israel.

Despite the announcement, fighting in Rafah continues, with the IDF clarifying on social media that no ceasefire has been implemented in the southern Gaza Strip.

Reports from Israeli media suggest that neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nor Defense Minister Yoav Gallant were aware of the tactical pause plans before their public announcement.

Netanyahu's office reportedly called the plan "unacceptable," emphasizing that combat operations in Rafah would continue as planned.

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir criticized the decision, labeling it the action of a "fool" and "evil."

Since the onset of the Israeli military operation in Rafah over a month ago, hundreds of thousands of residents have fled, with the once primary aid entry point at the Rafah crossing remaining closed.

The conflict, which started after Hamas attacked Israel on 7 October and killed nearly 1,200 Israelis, has resulted in over 37,000 Palestinian deaths according to Hamas-controlled Gaza's health ministry, and significant casualties on both sides.

On Saturday (15 June), Israeli officials said that eight soldiers were killed in an explosion in Rafah, the deadliest incident for the IDF since January.

Meanwhile, negotiations over a potential ceasefire and hostage release are continuing, with the US announcing upcoming talks in Washington with Israeli Defence Minister Gallant.

Also Read: Kerala Congress Issues 'Unconditional' Apology For Modi-Pope Post After BJP Terms It As 'Insult' To Christian Community — All About It

Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.

Get Swarajya in your inbox.