US to call on Israel to implement humanitarian pauses in Gaza

US to call on Israel to implement humanitarian pauses in Gaza
Israeli soldiers prepare for the scenario of ground maneuvers at an undisclosed location near the border with Gaza, in Israel, 26 October 2023. The Israeli army confirmed it carried out an overnight "targeted raid" into northern Gaza on 26 October. More than 6,500 Palestinians and at least 1,300 Israelis have been killed, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Palestinian health authority, since Hamas militants launched an attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip on 07 October, and the Israeli operations in Gaza and the West Bank that followed it. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Hannibal Hanschke)

GAZA/JERUSALEM, Nov 3 (Reuters) - The top U.S. diplomat planned on Friday to urge Israel to agree to multiple pauses in its war against Hamas militants in Gaza to allow humanitarian aid to enter and help people safely exit while Israel said it encircled the Palestinian enclave's biggest city.

  • U.S. flying intelligence drones over Gaza to help find hostages
  • Blinken to visit Israel, Jordan
  • Israeli military says it has surrounded Gaza City
  • Hamas says Israel underreports its casualties

By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams

With the Hamas-Israel conflict nearing the end of its fourth week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken was due to visit Israel on Friday for the second time in a month and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials.

Israel’s military late on Thursday said it had surrounded Gaza City, the seaside enclave’s primary city and the focus of Israel’s drive to annihilate the Islamist group. Hamas militants fought back with hit-and-run attacks from underground tunnels.

“We’re at the height of the battle. We’ve had impressive successes and have passed the outskirts of Gaza City. We are advancing,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement.

As Blinken left Washington for the Middle East, he said he would discuss in Israel concrete steps to minimise harm to civilians in Gaza. Mounting casualties among Palestinian civilians — along with worsening shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel — have sparked global pressure for a humanitarian break in fighting.

Israel has dismissed those calls, saying it targets the Hamas fighters whom it accuses of intentionally hiding among the population and civilian buildings.

The latest conflict began when Hamas militants broke through Israel’s border on Oct. 7. Israel says they killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took more than 240 hostages in the deadliest day of its 75-year-old history.

Israel’s ensuing bombardment of the small Palestinian enclave of 2.3 million killed at least 9,061 people, according to Gaza health authorities.

While reiterating opposition to a full ceasefire, the White House said on Thursday it was looking into a series of pauses in the conflict. U.S. national security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that such pauses should be temporary and localized, and he insisted they would not stop Israel from defending itself.

“What we’re trying to do is explore the idea of as many pauses as might be necessary to continue to get aid out and to continue to work to get people out safely, including hostages,” he told reporters.

Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the U.S was flying intelligence-gathering drones over Gaza to help locate hostages. One of the officials said they had been carrying out the drone flights for over a week.

On his trip, Blinken also was due to meet Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman on Saturday. In a statement, Safadi said Israel must end the war on Gaza, where he said it was committing war crimes by bombing civilians and imposing a siege.

In Geneva, a group of seven U.N. special rapporteurs, independent experts monitoring human rights, issued a statement calling for a ceasefire, saying Palestinians were at “grave risk of genocide”. The Israeli mission to the U.N. in Geneva called the comments “deplorable and deeply concerning” and blamed Hamas for civilian deaths.

Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said a determination of genocide could only be made by a relevant U.N. judicial body.

In his meetings, Blinken said he would also discuss the future of Gaza and laying the groundwork for future Palestinian statehood.



Amid heavy explosions in Gaza, Israeli military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told reporters his country’s “troops completed the encirclement of Gaza City, which is the focal point of the Hamas terror organization.”

Brigadier General Iddo Mizrahi, chief of Israel’s military engineers, said troops were encountering mines and booby traps.

“Hamas has learned and prepared itself well,” he said.

Abu Ubaida, spokesperson for the armed wing of Hamas, said in a televised speech on Thursday that Israel’s death toll in Gaza was much higher than the military had announced. “Your soldiers will return in black bags,” he said.

Israel has said it has lost 18 soldiers and killed dozens of militants since ground operations expanded on Friday.

Hamas and allied Islamic Jihad fighters were emerging from tunnels to fire at tanks, then disappearing back into the network, residents said and videos from both groups showed.



The Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt was due to open for a third day on Friday for limited evacuations under a Qatari-brokered deal aimed at letting some foreign passport holders, their dependents and some wounded Gazans out of the enclave.

According to border officials, more than 700 foreign citizens left for Egypt via the Rafah crossing on the two previous days.

Dozens of critically injured Palestinians were to cross too. Israel asked foreign countries to send hospital ships for them.

In Khan Younis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, nine-year-old Rafif Abu Ziyada said she was drinking dirty water and getting stomach pains and headaches.

“There is no cooking gas, there is no water, we don’t eat well. We are getting sick,” she said. “There’s garbage on the ground and the whole place is polluted.”

Over a third of Gaza’s 35 hospitals are not functioning, with many turned into impromptu refugee camps.

“The situation is beyond catastrophic,” said the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, describing packed corridors and many medics who were themselves bereaved and homeless.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    We still haven’t heard why the so-called brilliant IDF didn’t know about the Hamas attack in advance and didn’t go to help the Israelis in the Southern area for seven hours. Sounds like Netanyahu wanted as many excuses as possible to attack Gaza and drive the inhabitants out, as his fascist right wing mates have wanted for years, along of course with the West Bank where their settlers have been driving out Palestinians. And desecrating the Al Aqsa mosque, just to stir things up even more.

    • dexter m says:

      read the article on the grayzone , based on testimonies of survivors of assault, soldiers that responded and soldiers that were attacked. Netanyahu and IDF needs a big win, because the Israeli inquiry after the war is going to be brutal to all involved . The Palestinians sadly are a sideshow and as we see they do not matter to both western and Arab powers . The will never have a state or justice,

  • Penny Philip says:

    Netanyahu says the IDF is at the ‘height of their battle’ ……it isn’t a ‘battle’ when civilian deaths in Gaza are over 8,000. This is akin to ‘shooting fish in a barrel’. The only result of this revenge will be in the production of more generations of hatred & extremism. The US has always had the power to force Israel to abide by the Oslo Accord, but instead has stood by watching Israel build more settlements on the West Bank & generally maintain an apartheid society. And then are ‘mystified/ shocked/ horrified’ when terrible actions like this happen.

    • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

      Netanyahu is no different from Al Bashir as a person with gross human rights violations, war criminal and a perpetrator of genocide. The very same rationale that the US used to designate the crimes in Darfur applies to Netanyahu many times. He has the blood of the Palestinians in hands over the years. The self defence is a complete legal rubbish by Americans and there is no war but murder in Gaza. A people occupied and oppressed with no military to talk about and put in an open prison by the Israeli thugs there is no self defence to talk about unless the International Court of Justice is meaningless to the Americans as they have a doctrine to storm it if Americans are charged there. The same with the ICC. The Americans must take their empty human rights drivel elsewhere because nobody believes them anymore except donkeys.

  • Paddy Ross says:

    The US needs to stop bankrolling Israel unconditionally. It needs to skip ‘diplomacy’ but instead threaten to withhold support unless the Zionists stop the relentless kibbutz creep into Palestine land.

    • dexter m says:

      No US politician currently can stop Israel if he wants to be reelected , Jewish lobby and evangelical Christian voting block to dominant. i hate saying this only a president like Trump could if he wanted .He gave a toss about vested interests ,only if he looked great .

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    The world has been treated to lies and disinformation by the US and the rogue state of Israel that knows no bounds to lies and disinformation. We have been given a legal opinion by Blinken that is not worth a penny but drivel by a person who represents a country that has no respect for international law and even human rights except if it suits its agenda. To peddle disinformation on the right to self defence by Israel against the Palestinians is against the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice handed in July 2004 where we were represented by the late Aziz Pahad and Justice Madlanga. Firstly, Blinken a pathological liar has gone on television lying that people were prevented from crossing to Egypt by Hamas without a shred of evidence. The reality is that the Rafah border crossing it is controlled by Israel and Egypt and only a fool who does not know that. It is Israel that has held humanitarian aid from entering the open air prison called Gaza and its fascist Minister of Defence had made this very clear for anyone with ears to hear. They are even continuing to deny fuel to enter Gaza whilst cynically calling for the people of occupied Palestine in Gaza to evacuate to the South. Coming to the Biden and Blinken lies that are supported by the EU and UK, there is nothing called self defence by a state that controls the occupied territories. The advisory opinion is very clear on the case of the Wall in the OPT. Blinken is talking drivel along with his President.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Blinken is in great pain he is torn between singing the anthem of the flawed American foreign policy to earn a salary and the reality of the situation in Gaza and the grieving genuine Israel civillians, i have looked deep inside his soul and believe me he has one he is at great pains its a matter of time before he quits and tells Netanyawu Palestinians are human too

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted

MavericKids vol 3

How can a child learn to read if they don't have a book?

81% of South African children aged 10 can't read for meaning. You can help by pre-ordering a copy of MavericKids.

For every copy sold we will donate a copy to Gift of The Givers for children in need of reading support.

A South African Hero: You

There’s a 99.8% chance that this isn’t for you. Only 0.2% of our readers have responded to this call for action.

Those 0.2% of our readers are our hidden heroes, who are fuelling our work and impacting the lives of every South African in doing so. They’re the people who contribute to keep Daily Maverick free for all, including you.

The equation is quite simple: the more members we have, the more reporting and investigations we can do, and the greater the impact on the country.

Be part of that 0.2%. Be a Maverick. Be a Maverick Insider.

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options