U.S. President Joe Biden confirmed on Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rejected his request for a pause in Gaza fighting.
“I did ask him for a pause. He passed,” Biden said in response to a reporter’s question at a White House event in Washington. “I’m still waiting to hear some other things.”
During a phone call on Monday, the two leaders discussed “the possibility of tactical pauses” to afford residents of the Gaza Strip “opportunities to safely depart from areas of ongoing fighting, to ensure assistance is reaching civilians in need and to enable potential hostage releases,” according to a White House readout.
Netanyahu reiterated during an ABC News interview on Monday that “there will be no ceasefire in Gaza without the release of our hostages.”
Such a pause, he said, “will hamper the war effort. It will hamper our effort to get our hostages out. The only thing that works on these Hamas criminals is the military pressure we are exerting,” he said.
Israeli forces have opened a humanitarian corridor in the Gaza Strip every day since Saturday for northern Gaza residents to evacuate to the safe zone in the south across Wadi Gaza, despite coming under fire from Hamas terrorists.
Avichay Adraee, the Israel Defense Forces’ Arabic-language spokesman, on Tuesday published video footage of a convoy of hundreds of Gazans walking south on the Salah al-Din route. Some of them appeared to be raising their hands and others seemed to be carrying white flags.