The U.S. wants a humanitarian pause in Gaza, not a cease-fire

U.S. Efforts to End Hamas’ Attacks on Israel in the Gaza Strip: Palestinians, Israelis, and the Palestinians

Mr. Abbas called for “an immediate halt” to the war in Gaza and an end to Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, which he described as “no less horrific,” according to Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency.

During his visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah earlier in the day, Mr. Blinken spoke to Mr. Abbas about U.S. efforts to get Israeli leaders to “minimize civilian harm” in Gaza, a senior State Department official said.

The message that Mr. Blinken sent to anyone who might want to use the conflict in Gaza to threaten our personnel here or anywhere in the region was very clear.

There was an explosion in a densely populated residential area in the central Gaza Strip that destroyed several buildings and appeared to have killed and wounded many people.

The U.S. has publicly supported Israel’s right to defend itself and similarly opposed a cease-fire, with Blinken saying that one would allow Hamas to “regroup and repeat what it did on October 7th.”

Israel continues to strike Gaza from the air and on the ground, seeking to remove Hamas from power in response to its Oct. 7 attack on Israel, in which militants killed some 1,400 people and took another roughly 240 as hostages.

That same day, the heads of 18 United Nations agencies issued a rare joint statement reiterating their calls for an immediate cease-fire, as well as the immediate and unconditional release of all civilian hostages.

“Enough is enough. The heads of the World Health Organization and the High Commissioner for Refugees are among those who signed the letter.

In Washington, D.C., tens of thousands of people gathered this weekend to demand the cease-fire in the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Others have taken place in New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco — as well as cities throughout the United Kingdom, Europe and Latin America.

In the U.S., several progressive House Democrats introduced a resolution calling for an immediate cease-fire, which roughly a dozen lawmakers have signed onto since mid-October. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., became the first senator to call for one last week, emphasizing that it should only happen after all of the hostages are released.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected calls for a cease-fire. He reiterated in a televised address on Friday that one cannot happen without the return of the hostages.

“This should be completely removed from the lexicon,” he said. We say this to our friends and enemies. We will continue until we achieve our goal. We don’t have an alternative.

Israel’s mighty vengeance and the United States’ embassy’s response to the Rafah crisis: Netanyahu, Biden, and the White House

The United Nations defines a humanitarian pause as a “temporary cessation of hostilities purely for humanitarian purposes … usually for a defined period and specific geographic area where the humanitarian activities are to be carried out.”

In recent days, top U.S. officials have asked the Israeli government to pause operations in certain areas in order to allow the release of hostages and deliver aid.

Just over 450 aid trucks had entered Gaza since the Rafah border crossing reopened on Oct. 21, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Sunday. It said the daily number of confirmed trucks crossing through is less than 19% what it was before the current conflict.

“One is temporary and designed to achieve something that’s happening on the ground,” Daalder says. “The other is designed to be permanent and to end the military phase of the conflict.”

He said on Monday that the two countries are engaged “on the particular practicalities of humanitarian pauses” and that they are trying to increase aid to Gaza.

The White House said that Netanyahu and Biden spoke on Monday and discussed the “possibility of tactical pauses to give civilians opportunities to safely depart from areas of ongoing fighting to ensure assistance is reaching civilians in need, and to enable potential hostage releases.” The two will speak again in the next few days.

In both cases, Mr. Biden’s influence over how his allies prosecute those wars seems far more constrained than expected, given his central role as the supplier of arms and intelligence. As Israel is the United States most powerful ally and as Ukraine is its best hope of staying a free and independent nation, the president’s legacy is tied to how those countries act and the end of the wars.

It has not. In a phone call with Mr. Biden on Monday, Mr. Netanyahu refused to increase efforts to prevent civilian casualties. He has been using huge bombs to destroy Hamas tunnels in Gaza even if they also destroy entire neighborhoods, which is what he calls his “mighty vengeance”.

There was a stalemate in the army of Ukraine, according to Gen. Valery Zaluzhny, the most senior military commander there. Mr. Biden believes that both Russia and Ukraine are ready to fight but cannot move the battle in a meaningful way.

But they fear that General Zaluzhny’s candor will make it harder to get Republicans to vote for aggressive funding for the war — and may encourage President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to dig in, hoping former President Donald J. Trump or a Republican with similar views will be elected next year and pull back American support.

“There is a long history of U.S. presidents realizing they don’t have as much leverage over Israel as they thought,” said Representative Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat and former Marine who served four tours in Iraq. The same applies to Ukranian where this is foremost their fight, even if we have a huge stake in the outcome.

History, geography and American national interests separate these two radically different conflicts, though it was Mr. Biden himself who joined them in a speech to the nation two weeks ago after returning from a visit to Israel, where he mourned the loss of 1,400 people in the Oct. 7 attacks and vowed to join in the dismantling of Hamas.

Hamas and Putin represent different threats,” he said that evening, “but they share this in common: They both want to completely annihilate a neighboring democracy — completely annihilate it.”

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