US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have held discussions about implementing tactical pauses in Israel’s military offensive in Gaza. The aim of these pauses would be to facilitate the delivery of aid to Gaza and negotiate the release of hostages held by Hamas. While no decisions were made during their talks, Biden and Netanyahu have agreed to continue discussing the issue in the coming days.
The discussions come amidst political pressure and a growing Palestinian death toll, with Biden’s support for Israel’s incursion in Gaza facing criticism from members of his own party. US Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat, even accused Biden of “supporting the genocide of the Palestinian people”. In light of this, the Biden administration has pushed for humanitarian pauses to help alleviate the situation.
While Biden’s administration has argued against a general ceasefire, it has advocated for humanitarian pauses to address the increasing pressure and rising death toll. Netanyahu, who also met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, stated that Hamas would need to release the Israeli hostages before any temporary halts to the offensive could occur.
The delivery of aid to Gaza has been limited, with fewer than 30 aid trucks entering the region within the past 24 hours. The White House acknowledges the need to increase this number and provide more assistance to the people in Gaza.
On October 7, Hamas fighters carried out surprise attacks against villages in southern Israel, resulting in the deaths of approximately 1,400 people. They also took over 200 people as hostages, with 241 hostages still being held by Hamas, according to the Israeli Defense Forces.
Tactical pauses in the Israeli strikes would not only enable the release of hostages but also facilitate the evacuation of wounded Palestinian civilians and foreign nationals from Gaza. It would also allow civilians in northern Gaza, where the offensive is concentrated, to move to safer areas. However, the United States remains opposed to a general ceasefire due to Hamas’ actions, referring to them as a terrorist group responsible for numerous deaths and hiding in tunnels.
The discussions between Biden and Netanyahu highlight the ongoing efforts to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. The focus on tactical pauses demonstrates a commitment to finding a solution that balances the need for security with the urgent humanitarian needs of the people in Gaza. The continuation of these discussions in the coming days suggests a dedication to further progress in addressing the situation.