Israel Announces Daily Humanitarian Ceasefires in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has announced that it will implement daily “tactical pauses” in its military operation in southern Gaza, allowing for humanitarian aid deliveries to the Palestinian population.

The IDF stated in a press release on Sunday that these pauses will take place between 8:00 am and 7:00 pm each day, along a road extending from the Kerem Shalom crossing to the Salah al-Din Road, and then northward toward Khan Younis. The first pause took place on Saturday.

The IDF emphasized that this measure, coordinated with the UN and international aid agencies, is an additional step in their humanitarian efforts since the start of the conflict. The IDF added that the pauses will remain in effect until further notice.

The Kerem Shalom crossing has experienced a significant bottleneck since Israeli ground forces entered Rafah in early May, despite criticism from the US, UN, and other international actors. This move has hindered the flow of humanitarian aid into southern Gaza.

The current conflict erupted in October 2023 when Hamas launched surprise attacks on Israeli villages, resulting in over 1,000 deaths and the capture of around 250 hostages. According to Gaza health authorities, over 37,200 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 85,000 injured since the conflict began.

In November, a week-long ceasefire was agreed upon, during which almost half of the hostages were exchanged for Palestinian prisoners. Humanitarian aid was also allowed into Gaza during this period. However, on December 1, the IDF resumed the military operation, citing accusations of Hamas violating the ceasefire.

The ongoing hostilities have significantly impacted humanitarian aid delivery in southern Gaza, leading to the displacement of over a million Palestinians from Rafah after Israel launched an assault on the city last month.

In June, the UN added the IDF alongside Hamas and Islamic Jihad to its list of entities that have committed violations against children. Israel’s Foreign Minister, Israel Katz, condemned the move, labeling it “anti-Semitic” and warning of consequences for Israel’s relations with the UN.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, has indicated his intention to pursue arrest warrants for several high-ranking Israeli and Hamas officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Khan cited accusations of “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies, deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.” Netanyahu countered these allegations, accusing the ICC of obstructing Israel’s defense against terrorism.