Israel has agreed to daily, four-hour humanitarian pauses in the, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby confirmed Thursday morning.
Kirby announced to reporters that the four-hour humanitarian pauses will be implemented in northern Gaza beginning Thursday. The Israelis have informed the U.S. there will be no military operations in those areas for the duration of the pauses, and the timing will be announced three hours before the pause begins each day, Kirby said.
An Israeli official also confirmed the four-hour daily pauses, saying the reprieves are meant to allow people to move to the south of Gaza and obtain food and medicine.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said he might be open to “little pauses” in the fighting for humanitarian reasons, but has dismissed the idea of a ceasefire.
President Biden told reporters Thursday morning that he has asked Netanyahu for a pause even longer than three days for hostage negotiations.
CIA Director William Burns and Mossad Director David Barnea are both visiting Doha, Qatar, for trilateral talks with the Qataris to work through the details of a potential humanitarian pause that would entail the release of hostages and the entry of more aid into Gaza, according to an official with knowledge of the visit. The official said talks have been progressing well towards a deal in the past few days.
Israel has been under pressure to improve humanitarian conditions for Palestinian civilians in Gaza, where a severe water shortage, overcrowded shelters and a lack of medical supplies have plunged civilians into crisis.
Israel has been fighting Hamas in the Gaza Strip sinceon Israel on Oct. 7.
Israel and the U.S. have continued to call for the release of hostages held by Hamas.
“We’re still optimistic,” Mr. Biden told reporters Thursday.
— Sara Cook, Claire Day and Camilla Schick contributed to this report.
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