Tel Aviv, Israel — The state of Israel has agreed to halt all military operations for six hours Thursday morning in order to allow the United Nations to facilitate the transfer of aid to Palestinians living in Gaza.
The aid is reportedly being distributed by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), a UN body known to be extremely hostile to Israel. UNRWA has in the past been accused of hiring suspected terrorists as employees and using UN ambulances to facilitate the transfer of weapons and supplies to Palestinian radicals.
Palestinian boy at UNRWA camp
Late Wednesday, United States Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington is doing “everything in our power” to end the Israel-Hamas conflict. “Our concern is to have a legitimate ceasefire and see if we can find a way to stop the conflict and killing so we can get to the real issues that are underlying it, and we’re doing everything in our power,” said the Secretary. Kerry added that he had been speaking directly with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu along with several Arab officials.
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon commented on what was day nine of the Israel Defense Forces’ Operation Protective Edge.
“The IDF’s activity is systematic, and its objective is to hit the Hamas in such way that its leaders will notice the level of destruction that we have brought on them and will understand that it was a mistake to attack the state of Israel,” said the Defense Minister.
China has sent a mediator into the region to promote talks for a potential ceasefire. Beijing’s special envoy on Middle East affairs, Wu Sike, is in the region to help mediate.
“On one hand, both Israel and Palestine need China [to mediate]; on the other hand, China wants to play a role in the Middle East too, to gain a stronger voice in the peace process and guarantee the state’s energy interests,” said a Chinese international relations expert. Another expert added that China “does not want to see a change in the status quo among different countries in the region because of the Israel-Palestine conflict.”