Israel Announces Daily Tactical Pauses in Rafah for Humanitarian Aid Convoys

By Yoni Weiss

Israeli army bulldozers are seen near the Gaza Strip border, in southern Israel, Thursday. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg, File)

The IDF on Sunday announced a “tactical pause” in its offensive in the southern Gaza Strip to allow the delivery of increased quantities of humanitarian aid. The pause, starting at 8 a.m. and ending at 7 p.m., will take place daily until further notice.

The objective is to enable aid trucks to reach the Israel-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing, the primary entry point for incoming aid, and safely travel to the Salah a-Din highway, a crucial north-south route for delivering supplies throughout Gaza. This initiative is being coordinated with the U.N. and international aid agencies.

Since Israeli ground troops moved into Rafah in early May, the crossing has experienced significant bottlenecks. Israel’s eight-month military offensive against Hamas has exacerbated Gaza’s humanitarian crisis, with the U.N. reporting widespread hunger and hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine. The international community has urged Israel to alleviate the situation. From May 6 to June 6, the U.N. averaged 68 aid trucks daily, down from 168 in April and far below the 500 trucks needed daily.

COGAT spokesman Shimon Freedman blamed the U.N. for logistical issues causing aid delays, citing a shortage of trucks. The U.N. refutes these claims, pointing to the dangers of travel due to ongoing fighting. Additionally, the pace of deliveries is slowed by the need for Israeli military authorization for drivers, a system Israel says ensures their safety. Aid trucks have also faced looting threats along Gaza’s roads.

The new arrangement aims to reduce coordination requirements by providing an 11-hour uninterrupted window daily for aid trucks. It remains unclear if the IDF will offer security for the trucks on the highway.

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