Israeli military’s daytime halt in combat operations seems to be taking effect in Gaza


The Israeli military announced on Monday a temporary halt to operations during daylight hours in parts of southern Gaza, reflecting a new policy aimed at facilitating aid delivery to residents of the region.

Humanitarian workers expressed optimism that the daily pause in Israeli military activities would alleviate challenges in delivering aid to central and southern Gaza from Kerem Shalom, a critical border crossing with Israel. Despite this pause, aid agencies cautioned that ongoing movement restrictions and security concerns within Gaza continued to hinder effective food distribution.

This policy specifically applies to a seven-mile stretch in southern Gaza and does not extend to central Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge since the beginning of the conflict in Rafah.

The Israeli incursion into Rafah in early May resulted in the closure of the primary supply route between Egypt and Gaza at Rafah, significantly impeding the ability of aid groups to distribute essential supplies arriving from Israel to southern and central Gaza.

Despite pre-positioning food and other supplies ahead of the Israeli military operation in Rafah, concerns about food shortages in southern Gaza have escalated after six weeks of intense conflict. While fears of famine have somewhat subsided in northern Gaza, humanitarian organizations stress the precariousness of the situation.

Carl Skau, deputy director of the World Food Program, emphasized the urgency: “While food supplies in southern Gaza were relatively stable a month ago, our concern has grown significantly. Even with existing stockpiles, sustained access is critical to prevent a humanitarian crisis in the coming weeks.”

The closure of the Rafah border and the ongoing conflict have forced aid agencies and commercial vendors to redirect convoys through Israel, utilizing the Kerem Shalom crossing to enter Gaza. Once inside Gaza, humanitarian organizations take over distribution using their own vehicles. However, they criticize Israel for insufficient security guarantees during aid deliveries, pointing to attacks on convoys and aid workers, including Israeli airstrikes.

Israeli authorities assert that they do not impose limits on the amount of aid entering Gaza and attribute delays and shortages to logistical challenges among aid groups and alleged diversion of supplies by Hamas.

Shimon Freedman, a spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry’s coordinator for aid activities, stated: “We believe the primary obstacle lies in logistical inefficiencies on the ground, and more concerted efforts are needed to address these challenges.”

Despite these assurances, humanitarian agencies stress the urgent need for sustained access and security guarantees to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.


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