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Israel Military’s Daily Pauses For Gaza Aid Delivery Pitch Irks Netanyahu

Netanyahu’s response highlighted political tensions over aid to Gaza (File)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized the army’s plan announced Sunday to suspend fighting every day along a main road into the Gaza Strip to facilitate the delivery of aid to the Palestinian-controlled area.

The army announced a halt to fighting from 5am to 6pm every day in the area from the Kerem Shalom checkpoint to the Salah al-Din road and further north.

“After the prime minister heard reports of the 11-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the morning, he went to his military chief and made it clear that this was unacceptable,” the Israeli official said.

The army said operations would continue as usual in Rafah, its main base of operations in southern Gaza, where eight soldiers were killed on Saturday.

Netanyahu’s reaction highlighted political tensions over the flow of aid to the Gaza Strip, where international agencies have warned of a widening humanitarian crisis.

National Security Minister Itamar Bengvir, who heads one of the nationalist religious parties in Netanyahu’s ruling coalition, denounced the idea of ​​a tactical ceasefire and said those who decided on it were “idiots” who should lose their jobs.

Division of the Allied forces and the Army

The altercation is the latest in a series of clashes between coalition forces and troops over the conduct of the war, now in its ninth month.

This came a week after centrist former general Benny Gantz resigned from the government, saying Netanyahu lacked an effective strategy for Gaza.

The divisions were on full display last week in a parliamentary vote on a bill to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews into the army, when Defense Minister Yoav Galant went against party orders and voted against the bill, arguing it did not go far enough to meet the army’s needs.

The religious parties in the governing coalition are strongly opposed to conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews, sparking widespread anger among many Israelis that has deepened as the war drags on.

The army’s top official, Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, said Sunday there was a “definite need” to recruit more soldiers from the rapidly growing ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Tensions among reservists

Despite growing international pressure for a ceasefire, more than eight months after an October 7 attack by Hamas fighters into Israel prompted Israeli forces to launch a ground offensive into the exclave, an agreement to stop the fighting remains a distant prospect.

Since the attack, which killed around 1,200 Israelis and foreigners in Israel, Israeli military operations have killed more than 37,000 Palestinians and destroyed large parts of the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures.

While opinion polls show a majority of Israelis support the government’s goal of destroying Hamas, there have been widespread protests against the government’s failure to do enough to bring home the roughly 120 hostages who remain in Gaza since being taken on October 7.

Meanwhile, Palestinian health officials said seven Palestinians were killed in two airstrikes on two homes in the Al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

As fighting continues in Gaza, near-daily gun battles between Israeli forces and Iran-backed Hezbollah militias have escalated, and a small-scale conflict across the Israel-Lebanon border is now threatening to escalate into a larger war.

In a further sign that the fighting in Gaza could be protracted, Netanyahu’s government said Sunday it was extending until Aug. 15 funding for hotels and guesthouses for residents displaced from Israel’s southern border towns.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)