G7 nations call for 'humanitarian pauses' to speed aid to Gaza

G7 Japan 051023 AP

The Group of Seven (G7) nations added their weight Wednesday to calls for “humanitarian pauses” in the war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

“We stress the need for urgent action to address the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” a statement by the group read. “All parties must allow unimpeded humanitarian support for civilians, including food, water, medical care, fuel, and shelter, and access for humanitarian workers. We support humanitarian pauses and corridors to facilitate urgently needed assistance, civilian movement, and the release of hostages.”

The G7 includes Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, France, the U.K. and the U.S. The statement came on the same day Secretary of State Antony Blinken also reiterated calls for “humanitarian pauses,” which would be more limited and temporary that than a ceasefire. A growing number of Democrats in Congress have also backed the targeted pauses in fighting.

Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu has signaled some openness to the pauses, but has sought to tie any halt in the fighting to Hamas releasing some 240 hostages take on Oct. 7, when the militant group launched a bloody attack on Israel that killed some 1,400 people.

Israel has been bombarding the Gaza Strip from the air for the past month, and last week sent in troops and armor to rout Hamas from their base in Gaza City. The aerial attacks have already killed thousands of Palestinian civilians, and the ground war is only expected to raise the risk to northern Gaza’s remaining population.

Calls for a full ceasefire to end the killing, and make space for a diplomatic solution, are growing in the U.S. and across the world, as the death toll rises in Gaza.

The House, with support from 22 Democrats, voted Tuesday to censure Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), who is the body’s only Palestinian-American member and an outspoken critic of Israel’s war in Gaza.

The G7 countries stopped short of calling for a ceasefire.

“The G7 ministers reaffirmed our staunch support for Israel’s right and obligation to defend itself and seek to ensure the attacks of October 7th can never happen again, in accordance with international humanitarian law,” Blinken said in Tokyo Wednesday.

“We had in-depth discussions about the steps that we are taking to address urgent needs on the ground,” Blinken continued.

“We all agreed that humanitarian pauses would advance key objectives to protect Palestinian civilians, to increase the sustained flow of humanitarian assistance, to allow our citizens and foreign nationals to exit, and to facilitate the release of hostages.”

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