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Middle East

Netanyahu criticizes military's tactical pauses in Gaza conflict

Image Credits: UnsplashImage Credits: Unsplash
  • Netanyahu opposes military's tactical pauses intended for humanitarian aid delivery in Gaza.
  • Political tensions within Israel's government and military are heightened by this decision.
  • The ongoing conflict has resulted in significant humanitarian crises and international pressure for a ceasefire.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a firm stance against the Israeli military's decision to implement daily tactical pauses in the ongoing Gaza conflict. These pauses, designed to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip, have become a contentious issue, revealing deep political and strategic divisions within Israel.

The military announced that these tactical pauses would occur daily from 05:00 GMT to 16:00 GMT, specifically along the route from the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing to the Salah al-Din Road and then northwards. The aim was to ensure that essential aid could reach the Palestinian enclave, which has been under severe bombardment and blockade.

"When the prime minister heard the reports of an 11-hour humanitarian pause in the morning, he turned to his military secretary and made it clear that this was unacceptable to him," an Israeli official told Reuters. Netanyahu's opposition underscores the political tensions over the issue of aid to Gaza, where international organizations have warned of a growing humanitarian crisis and looming famine.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a key figure in Netanyahu's ruling coalition, echoed the prime minister's sentiments, denouncing the idea of a tactical pause. He went as far as to call those who decided on the pause "fools" who should lose their jobs. This hardline stance reflects the broader sentiment among far-right government ministers who have been advocating for a further reduction in aid to Gaza.

The military's plan for tactical pauses has not only faced political opposition but also operational challenges. Despite the announcement, normal military operations continued in Rafah, the main focus of Israel's ongoing assault in southern Gaza. The area has seen intense fighting, with Israeli forces razing homes and continuing attacks even during significant Muslim celebrations like Eid al-Adha.

The conflict, now in its ninth month, has resulted in the deaths of more than 37,300 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian health ministry. The destruction of much of Gaza's infrastructure has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis, with international pressure mounting for a lasting ceasefire. However, an agreement to halt the fighting remains elusive.

Netanyahu's opposition to the tactical pauses highlights the broader strategic and political challenges facing Israel. The prime minister has been under significant pressure to demonstrate a strong stance against Hamas, especially following the group's attacks into southern Israel on October 7, which triggered Israel's most ruthless offensive in Gaza to date.

The internal political landscape in Israel has also been affected by these developments. Former general Benny Gantz recently quit the government, accusing Netanyahu of lacking an effective strategy in Gaza. This resignation has further exposed the divisions within the ruling coalition, particularly over issues like the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews into the military, which has been a contentious topic drawing widespread anger from many Israelis.

Despite the internal and external pressures, Netanyahu remains steadfast in his approach. He has extended the period for funding hotels and guest houses for residents evacuated from southern Israeli border towns until August 15, indicating that the conflict in Gaza is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

The international community, including the United States, has expressed concern over the humanitarian impact of the conflict. US President Joe Biden has criticized the high number of Palestinian civilian casualties and the destruction of infrastructure in Gaza. However, the US has not publicly stated its position on the International Criminal Court's jurisdiction in the conflict or the potential issuance of arrest warrants for Israeli leaders.

Netanyahu's denunciation of the military's tactical pauses in Gaza fighting reflects the complex and multifaceted nature of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The ongoing political tensions, humanitarian crisis, and international scrutiny continue to shape the narrative, with no clear resolution in sight.

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