‘We want to see this seven-day pause turn into eight, nine, 10 and beyond,’ says National Security Council spokesperson.
The US continued Thursday to voice opposition to a permanent cease-fire that would end hostilities in the besieged Gaza Strip, but said it would continue to support the extension of humanitarian pauses.
“We do not support a permanent cease-fire. At this time, we do support the idea of humanitarian pauses,” National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.
“We want to see this seven-day pause turn into eight, nine, 10 and beyond. But ultimately, that’s going to take Israel and Hamas to agree to the parameters of extending that deal, but in the United States, they’ll continue to find an advocate for extension,” he added.
An initial four-day truce agreed upon by the Palestinian group, Hamas, and Israel has been extended twice but is set to expire later Thursday, setting the stage for the possible resumption of hostilities in Gaza where more than 15,000 people have been killed, according to official statistics. That includes over 6,150 children and 4,000 women.
Israel began its war in Gaza in retaliation for an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by Hamas in which 1,200 people were killed, and more than 200 taken hostage.
Under the truce’s terms, three Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons have been released for every hostage set free by Hamas.
Badly-needed humanitarian aid has also been able to flow into Gaza at higher levels than what has been seen during the war, but which nonetheless pales in comparison to prior days even as needs have grown dramatically.
More than 1.7 million Palestinians have been internally displaced in the coastal enclave, most of whom have fled to the south where Israel has vowed to continue its campaign. That is about 80% of Gaza’s population, and half of the territory’s housing stock has been damaged or destroyed, according to UN estimates.
Earlier Thursday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres re-upped his calls for a cease-fire, saying the truce has been “completely inadequate” to address the humanitarian plight.
“The level of aid to Palestinians in Gaza remains completely inadequate to meet the huge needs of more than two million people, and although the total volume of fuel allowed into Gaza has also increased, it remains utterly insufficient to sustain basic operations,” Guterres told the Security Council.
“Civilians in Gaza need a continuous flow of life-saving humanitarian aid and fuel into and across the area. Safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all those in need is critical,” he added.
Source : AA