‘Nothing Has Changed’ Since Israel Announced Limited Humanitarian Pause

The Israel Defense Forces said it would halt operations near one road in Gaza during daylight hours

The head of the UN aid agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) said there has been no change on the ground since Israel’s military claimed it would open a humanitarian aid route in Gaza. After the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced it would pause fighting in a limited area during daylight hours, the Israeli prime minister denounced the decision.

On Monday, UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said the IDF’s pause has done little to improve the situation in Gaza. “There has been information that such a decision has been taken, but the political level says none of this decision has been taken,” he explained. “So for the time being, I can tell you that hostilities continue in Rafah and in the south of Gaza. And that operationally, nothing has changed yet.”

The IDF said it was continuing its operations in Rafah, near the location of the humanitarian route. After a slower initial ground attack, Israeli soldiers recently pushed deeper into the central and western regions of the city.

On Sunday, Tel Aviv announced that it would pause military operations during daylight hours along a seven-mile stretch of road in Gaza to relieve a backlog of aid shipments. However, after the policy was rolled out, Israeli officials were quick to downplay and denounce the humanitarian corridor.

IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari appeared to minimize the significance of the pause. “There is no cessation of fighting in the southern Gaza Strip, and the fighting in Rafah continues. Also, there is no change in the introduction of goods into the Gaza Strip,” he said in a post on X. “The axis carrying the goods will be open during the day in coordination with international organizations, for the transportation of humanitarian aid only.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found even the limited halt to fighting “unacceptable,” while National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir said whoever came up with the idea is a “fool” and should be fired.

The IDF announcement came as nearly all of the Palestinians living in Gaza are suffering from severe deprivation and in need of humanitarian assistance. The UN agency for children, UNICEF, recently warned that about 90 percent of kids in Gaza lack nutrition and face “severe” threats to their “survival, growth and development.”

Aid deliveries in southern Gaza have been significantly curtailed by Israeli military operations over the past month. In the 30 days following the Israeli assault on Rafah, the number of shipments entering Gaza plummeted to 68 per day – far short of the minimum of 500 needed to sustain the population.

Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.