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Israel Hamas WarNewsIsrael

Humanitarian pause to allow aid trucks into Gaza

Attacks from Hezbollah on north increase; Rafah offensive continues; Netanyahu dissolves war cabinet.
TJI Wrap
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Boy with pot on his head surrounded by other children

Displaced Palestinians in Khan Younis wait for good distributed by World Central Kitchen (Hani Alshaer/Anadolu via Getty Images).

Published: 18 June 2024

Last updated: 18 June 2024

Israel is pausing military activity along a route in southern Gaza daily until further notice to allow aid trucks to reach desperate Palestinians, the IDF has announced.

The pause aims to overcome a bottleneck of aid which has built up at the Kerem Shalom crossing to reach Khan Younis.

Israel has provided frequent “tactical pauses” to allow aid through but this is a more significant pause across a wider area.

UNRWA, which still manages much of the aid to Gaza despite being discredited for Hamas links, recently described conditions in Gaza as “unspeakable”. The World Food Programme estimates 1.1 million people are facing catastrophic levels of hunger.

“The limited functionality of the southern border crossings means that barely any fuel or aid is getting into any part of Gaza. If food and humanitarian supplies do not begin to enter in massive quantities, famine-like conditions will spread,” said a World Food Program statement.

The IDF said the pause did not mean stopping the military offensive. It also said there was no change in the entry of goods into the strip.

The director of UNRWA affairs in Gaza, Scott Anderson, welcomed the “tactical pause,” saying “we very much hope that this long pause every day will allow us to move freely back and forth”.

But a spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund warned the pause could not replace a ceasefire. “I just don’t know unfortunately [how long the pause will last], this is a question for the the occupying power, for Israel and its military,” said James Elder.

The fierce fighting that had been underway in Rafah as Israel seeks to destroy Hamas in Gaza continued on Sunday, with heavy clashes. On Saturday, eight IDF soldiers were killed near the city, one of the single deadliest incidents of the war for Israeli troops.

Controversy over the conduct of the war is causing growing rifts inside Israel, at the same time as the country faces increased attacks from Hezbollah in the north.

Fears Iran may join northern front

Iran-backed Hezbollah last week launched the largest volleys of rockets and drones yet in the eight months it has been exchanging fire with the Israeli military, in parallel with the Gaza war.

Intensified cross-border fire from Lebanon's Hezbollah movement into Israel could trigger serious escalation, the Israeli military said on Sunday.

The biggest fear is that Iran will join Hezbollah, leading to a regional war.

"Hezbollah’s increasing aggression is bringing us to the brink of what could be a wider escalation, one that could have devastating consequences for Lebanon and the entire region," Israeli military spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said in a video statement in English.

Hagari said that Hezbollah has launched over 5,000 rockets, anti-tank missiles and explosive UAVs into Israel since October 7.

Domestic tensions increase

Tens of thousands of Israelis joined protests on the weekend calling for a deal on Gaza that prioritises the return of the hostages.

Organisers of the nationwide protests declared a week of resistance that will begin on Sunday, saying "next week will be the last week of Netanyahu's destructive government".

Ayala Metzger, whose father-in-law Yoram Metzger died in Hamas captivity, spoke on the stage at Democracy Square in Tel Aviv, calling on the public to block highways and streets, demonstrate outside the residences of ministers, and practice civil disobedience during the coming days.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dissolved the war cabinet after the departure last week of Benny Gantz, who had warned he would leave the government if Netanyahu failed to articulate a strategy for ending the war.

Gantz’s absence from the government increases Netanyahu’s dependence on his ultra-nationalist allies, who oppose a ceasefire.


IDF announces daily pause in fighting along key south Gaza road to increase aid flow (Times of Israel)

Israel’s plan for ‘tactical pause’ for aid raises questions and deepens rifts  (CNN)

Hagari addresses Israel: 'Hezbollah bringing us to brink of escalation' (Jerusalem Post)

Will Iran join Hezbollah for all-out war with Israel? (Ynet)

Tens of thousands of Israelis protest Netanyahu coalition, call to strike Gaza deal (Haaretz)

Netanyahu dissolves influential war cabinet after key partner bolted from government (AP)


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