WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Israel has agreed to allow four-hour humanitarian pauses each day to let civilians flee Gaza.
The White House has been pushing this for days: While speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday, President Joe Biden urged Israel to pausing fighting against Hamas. This comes as the humanitarian crisis in Gaza grows more dire each day.
On Thursday, Israel’s government agreed to start humanitarian pauses. For four hours each day, civilians in Gaza will be allowed to flee without fear of bombings.
“This is a welcome step in the right direction,” Principal Deputy State Department Spokesperson Vedant Patel said.
The U.S. Department of State says Palestinians evacuating northern Gaza will have access to two corridors but acknowledges that longer pauses are also needed as fighting on the ground intensifies.
“This is not a black and white situation,” Patel said. “It’s something we’re going to continue to work on with our partner.”
Biden says he is still pushing for three-day pauses to allow vital resources like water into Gaza and to get more than 200 hostages out safely.
“We’re hopeful things are moving along,” Biden said.
But Democrats pushing a ceasefire are slamming the pause.
“What we need is to stop the bombing,” Rep. Cori Bush, D-Mo., said.
Bush and a group of anti-war veterans are urging the White House to abandon Israel’s strong-arm approach.
“A ceasefire lays the foundation for the diplomatic negotiations that we need to see,” Bush said.
But Republicans call a ceasefire a gift to Hamas and its key sponsor, Iran.
Since the start of the war, the Pentagon says Iran-linked militants have attacked U.S. troops in Syria and Iraq 46 times.
Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, says the U.S. must beef up its counterattacks.
“It’s time to get serious about deterring Iran,” he said.