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Netanyahu decries Gaza ‘tactical pause’ as unacceptable – media

The Israeli military earlier announced plans to halt fighting in parts of southern Gaza to allow in aid

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized a decision by the military to halt fighting for several hours every day along a route in southern Gaza to facilitate aid delivery, Reuters and Israeli media have reported.

The IDF announced the 11-hour-long ‘tactical pauses’ in the area on Sunday. The decision will allow trucks carrying aid to enter the enclave through a key border crossing and along a major road northward.

When Netanyahu heard the military’s initial announcement, he contacted his military secretary and “made it clear that this was unacceptable to him,” an unnamed Israeli official said, as quoted by Reuters.

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The site of an Israeli strike on a camp for internally displaced people in Rafah, May 27, 2024.
Israeli army announces daily ‘tactical pause’ in Gaza

According to the Times of Israel newspaper, although the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has frequently announced pauses in fighting for Palestinians to receive and distribute aid, the latest move marks “a more significant daily halt in military activity, for more hours than usual and across a wider area.”

The announcement of the pause comes a day after Hamas fighters killed eight Israeli troops in an ambush in southern Gaza.

According to Israeli news outlet N12, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Galant had not been informed in advance about the IDF’s decision to pause the fighting in the Rafah area.

“After an inquiry, the prime minister was informed that there was no change in IDF policy and that the fighting in Rafah continues as planned,” the Times of Israel newspaper reported, citing a diplomatic source.

After the initial announcement, the IDF issued a clarification on X (formerly Twitter) saying that the fighting in southern Gaza and Rafah would continue as normal, and that a road in a specific area would only be open for the transportation of humanitarian aid. The IDF said the pause was being coordinated with international aid agencies.

Several top politicians in the Netanyahu government have condemned the ‘tactical pause’.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, a leading right-wing member of the cabinet, said in a statement on X that whoever decided on such a “delusional” approach was a “fool who should not remain in his position.” The move was not brought before the cabinet and is contrary to its decisions, the statement added.

READ MORE: Hamas leader comments on possible ceasefire

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich also slammed the IDF’s announcement as “delusional,” arguing that the “aid goes largely to Hamas and helps it to continue civilian control” of Gaza “in direct contradiction to the goals of the war.”

Over 37,000 Palestinians have been killed since the war began last October, according to Gaza health authorities. The conflict started when Hamas launched surprise attacks against southern Israeli villages on October 7, killing more than 1,100 people and taking hundreds of hostages back to Gaza.

June 17, 2024 at 03:19PM

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