The United States has declined international appeals for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas. Their argument is that a ceasefire is not the appropriate course of action at this moment. Instead, they have proposed implementing “pauses” in the hostilities to allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Currently, Gaza is facing a critical shortage of essential supplies, including food, water, fuel, and medicines, which are putting the well-being of its 2.2 million residents in jeopardy.
In contrast to the calls for a ceasefire, Israel has taken a firm stance, vowing not to agree to a ceasefire until Hamas is completely dismantled. Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has framed calls for a ceasefire as demands for Israel to surrender to Hamas and terrorism, stating categorically that this surrender will not occur. The situation remains complex, with differing perspectives on how to approach the conflict.
Mr. Kirby expressed during the press briefing that more aid trucks would access Gaza via Egypt. The US has discussed with Israel the possibility of increasing daily border crossings to around 100 trucks. While around 45 trucks entered Gaza via Egypt’s Rafah Crossing on Sunday, Mr. Kirby acknowledged that more trucks would be required.
Philippe Lazzarini, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, had mentioned that before the conflict, roughly 500 trucks entered Gaza daily. On Monday, Mr. Lazzarini emphasized that the aid system would face failure unless there is a genuine political commitment to ensure the effective flow of supplies that can address the overwhelming humanitarian needs. On the same day, Israel, as stated by Mr. Netanyahu, initiated what he termed the “second stage” of a campaign aimed at dismantling Hamas. This involved the expansion of ground operations within Gaza following three weeks of intense airstrikes.
Hamas has released a video featuring captives demanding a prisoner swap and criticizing the Israeli government for perceived failures during Hamas’s October 7 attack. Israel has dismissed this as “psychological propaganda.” An Israeli soldier was “released” in a military operation in Gaza, as stated in a joint statement by the Israeli military and Shin Bet. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected any calls for a ceasefire with Hamas and has described it as part of an “axis of evil” with Iran.
Meanwhile, Palestinians in Gaza City have reported receiving threats from the Israeli army over the phone, instructing them to evacuate, as bombings continue, and safe escape routes are lacking. The ongoing conflict has resulted in a significant number of casualties, with at least 8,306 Palestinians killed in Gaza since October 7 and more than 1,400 people killed in Israel.