The White House on Thursday called for consideration of “humanitarian pauses” in the Israel-Hamas War, as Israel prepares its ground offensive against Hamas in response to the terrorist organization’s attacks on October 7 that killed more than 1,400.
“In a tactical sense, as Secretary Blinken said, we do think that there should be consideration made right now for humanitarian pauses,” National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said at a White House briefing.
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“These are localized, temporary, specific pauses on the battlefield so that humanitarian assistance can get in to people that need it or the people can get out of that area in relative safety. That’s what a humanitarian pause is, and we think it’s an idea worth exploring,” he said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the prospect of a humanitarian pause during a meeting at the United Nations on Thursday.
As Israel’s airstrikes in Gaza intensify, the United Nations Secretary-General called for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war
The Biden Administration urges humanitarian pauses to help deliver aid and get civilians out of harms way
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President Joe Biden also on Thursday endorsed the idea of a so-called humanitarian pause.
He said Israeli outrage is “completely understandable” and that the U.S. would ensure Israel has what it needs to defend itself against terrorists, but said that Israel has to “do everything in its power” to “protect innocent civilians.”
He thanked Israel and Egypt for working with the U.S. to make sure food, water, and medical supplies were getting into Gaza, and said, “The flow needs to increase, and we’re working very hard with our partners to make that happen.”
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Kirby on Thursday acknowledged a two-state solution was a “lofty goal,” but said Biden still believes that has to be the goal.
“We’re driving to a state for Palestinians if they can live in peace and security and justice. That is a strategic long-term goal,” he said.
The White House is pushing for a humanitarian pause the same time White House staff is holding “wellness meetings” for aides who disagree with support for Israel’s military actions in Gaza against Hamas.
The Department of State and the Department of Defense are taking measures to calm dissent, according to Politico.