Israel will begin four-hour pauses in northern Gaza starting on Thursday to allow people to flee hostilities, the White House said in what it called a step in the right direction.

White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the pauses emerged out of discussions between U.S and Israeli officials in recent days, including talks U.S. President Joe Biden had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Kirby said the pauses would allow people to get out of harm’s way and for deliveries of humanitarian aid and could be used as a way to get hostages out.

“We’ve been told by the Israelis that there will be no military operations in these areas over the duration of the pause, and that this process is starting today,” Kirby said.

“We understand that Israel will begin to implement four-hour pauses in areas of northern Gaza” with an announcement to come three hours in advance,” he said.

He called the news a step in the right direction.

“We think these are significant first steps here and obviously we want to see them continued for as long as they are needed,” he added.

Kirby also said a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas militants is not in order because it would help Hamas and “legitimize what they did on Oct. 7 and we simply are not going to stand for that at this time.”





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