Israel Holds Fire on Stretch of Road Used for Aid Deliveries

Daytime pause will be daily for now
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 16, 2024 10:00 AM CDT
Israel Holds Fire on Stretch of Road Used for Aid Deliveries
Palestinians collect food aid ahead of the upcoming Eid al-Adha holiday in Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Jehad Alshrafi)

Israel's military announced on Sunday that it would pause fighting during daytime hours along a route in southern Gaza to free up a backlog of humanitarian aid deliveries for desperate Palestinians enduring a humanitarian crisis sparked by the war, now in its ninth month. The "tactical pause," which applies to about 7.4 miles of road in the Rafah area, falls far short of a complete cease-fire in the beleaguered territory that has been sought by the international community, including the US. The limited halt in fighting could help address some of the overwhelming needs of Palestinians that have surged in recent weeks with Israel's incursion into Rafah, the AP reports.

The army said the pause would begin at 8am and last until 7pm and will be daily until further notice. The move is aimed at allowing aid trucks to reach the nearby Israel-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing, the main entry point for aid, and travel safely to the Salah a-Din highway, a main north-south road, the military said. The crossing has had a bottleneck since Israeli ground troops moved into Rafah in early May. COGAT, the Israeli military body that oversees aid distribution in Gaza, said the route would increase the flow of aid to other parts of Gaza. Hard-hit northern Gaza, an early target in the war, is being served by goods entering from a crossing in the north.

The military said the pause Sunday, which begins as Muslims start marking the major Eid Al-Adha holiday, came after discussions with the United Nations and international aid agencies, per the AP. Following criticism by ultranationalists in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, who oppose a halt in the war, the military said that fighting is not being paused in the rest of southern Gaza and that there is no change regarding the entry of aid in general. Aid trucks in some cases have been looted by crowds as they moved along Gaza's roads. It was not immediately clear whether the army would provide security to the aid trucks moving along the highway.

(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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