Blinken blames Hamas for 'breakdown in truce' amid new war crimes by Israel in Gaza

Mohamed Hatem , Friday 1 Dec 2023

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday said Hamas is responsible for the breakdown in the truce deal because it violated the terms of the agreement with Israel.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks to the media prior to departure from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai, on December 1, 2023. AFP


"It's important to understand why the pause came to an end - it came to an end because of Hamas," Blinken told reporters before departing Al-Maktoum Airport in Dubai.

The United States remains "intensely focused" on freeing hostages held in Gaza despite the resumption of the war in Gaza after a week-long truce, added Blinken.

"We remained intensely focused on getting everyone home, getting hostages back, something that I also worked on today," he said, after meeting Arab foreign ministers on the sidelines of the COP28 in the UAE.

Blinken met with the top diplomats of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, and Bahrain during his brief visit to Dubai, as well as a representative of the Palestinian Authority.

"We're determined to do everything we can to get everyone reunited with their families, including pursuing the process that had worked for seven days," Blinken said, adding that these efforts were continuing "almost hour by hour".

'Hamas to blame'

Blinken cited rockets being fired into Israel by the group before the ceasefire ended as well as a deadly shooting by two Palestinian gunmen at a bus stop in Jerusalem on Thursday as evidence that the Palestinian side violated the truce.

"It (also) reneged on the commitments it made in terms of releasing certain hostages," he added.

"We support Israel and its efforts to ensure that the October 7 attacks are not repeated," Blinken asserted.

"Hamas will not have the ability to repeat what it did on October 7," he added.

He also stressed that the US is working to prevent the expansion of the Gaza war into a regional conflict.

The key is "getting on a path to lasting peace and security," added Blinken.

On Thursday evening, after meeting with the Israeli war cabinet in Tel Aviv, Blinken said that the Israeli government had agreed to "a clear plan" to avert civilian deaths before resuming its military operations in Gaza.

On Friday, Israel resumed its mad bombing campaign on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, ending a 7-day truce, killing tens and injuring hundreds today.

Moreover, the Israeli army issued evacuation orders to civilians in the north and the south of the strip.

More than 110 Palestinians were killed and hundreds injured - mostly women and children -  in indiscriminate  Israeli airstrikes on various parts of the Gaza Strip on Friday.

Hamas blames US and Israel

Earlier on Friday, Osama Hamdan, a top Hamas official who is based in Beirut, charged that Israel and the US bear full responsibility for stopping the temporary truce, saying Israel was determined to continue the war on Gaza and refused to accept all offers to release other detainees.

"We blame the failure on two sides, the Israeli and American sides," Hamdan said.

"After a meeting with Netanyahu, Blinken gave the green light to continue operations, and therefore there was a clear intention on the part of the Israelis to resume the aggression, accompanied by American approval of the new plans,” he added.

Khalil al-Hayeh, a member of the Hamas Politburo, told Al Jazeera that Israel had a "premeditated plan to resume its war on the strip."

Al-Hayeh said Israel restarted the war on Gaza because the international community failed to deter Israel from committing crimes against the Palestinian people. 

Hamas made several proposals to release more Israeli captives in exchange for the freeing of more Palestinian prisoners but were all rejected by Tel Aviv, he said.

He said Blinken gave Israel a "green light" to resume military operations in Gaza.

"Every time before a new act of aggression, we always see how the US Secretary of State gives Israel the ‘green light’ to continue its crimes, providing it with assistance and all means of political protection," Al-Hayeh noted.

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