The G7 statement comes as Israeli officials say troops have reached deep into Gaza City.
Foreign ministers from the world’s major industrialized democracies called on Wednesday for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting in Gaza to allow more aid to enter and to help protect Palestinian civilians, adding to pressure on the Israeli government to relent in its assault on the enclave. Nearly two weeks after Israeli ground forces invaded Gaza in response to a massacre by Hamas on Oct. 7, Israeli officials said troops had reached deep into Gaza City, a densely populated urban center and a stronghold of Hamas. It was not possible to independently confirm the positions of Israeli troops.
The statement by the Group of 7 nations, released after a two-day meeting of foreign ministers in Tokyo, stopped short of calling for a cease-fire, which Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken told reporters would risk leaving Hamas in place with the “capacity to repeat Oct. 7 again and again and again.” “We support humanitarian pauses and corridors to facilitate urgently needed assistance, civilian movement and the release of hostages,” the statement by the G7 foreign ministers said. It added: “We underscore the importance of protecting civilians and compliance with international law, in particular international humanitarian law.”
The ministers said they condemned the Hamas attack on Israel, which Israeli authorities say killed about 1,400 people, mostly civilians. But they also said there was an urgent need for more humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza, where the invasion and thousands of Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 10,000 people and injured more than 26,000 others, according to the Gazan health ministry. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, responding to popular pressure, have also appealed to American officials, including Mr. Blinken, to get Israel to halt its offensive.
The White House has supported Israel’s right to defend itself and its objective of eliminating Hamas, but it has steadily increased its calls for humanitarian pauses to get more aid into Gaza. A little more than 520 aid trucks have entered Gaza in the last month, according to the U.S. State Department, roughly the number that the United Nations sent in daily before the war between Israel and Hamas began.
On Monday, President Biden called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and “discussed the possibility of tactical pauses,” the White House said. Mr. Netanyahu told ABC News in an interview that aired on Monday that while Israel might consider “tactical little pauses,” there would be no cease-fire without the release of hostages. In the G7 statement, the ministers expressed concern about “the rise in extremist settler violence committed against Palestinians” in the West Bank. The ministers said they would work together “to deny Hamas the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities,” including by imposing new sanctions. The statement also called for “a two-state solution” as “the only path to a just, lasting and secure peace.”
The statement appeared to align more closely than earlier G7 statements with the approach that Japan has taken since the start of the war. While most of its G7 peers offered full-throated support for Israel, Japan set itself apart by issuing more measured public statements calling for “all the parties” to “exercise maximum restraint” in the conflict, and by expressing concern for “a number of casualties in Gaza as well.”
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