Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that a military operation in Rafah was necessary to ensure victory in the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza strip.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Saturday that the pause in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict ended due to Hamas, claiming the terror group ‘reneged’ on commitments.
While speaking to the media at Dubai airport, he said, “I made clear that after the pause it was imperative that Israel put in place clear protections for civilians and for sustaining humanitarian assistance going forward. And as we’ve seen just today, Israel has already moved out on parts of that, including sending out information, making it clear where people can be in safe areas in Gaza. And we’ll be looking at that going forward. It’s very, very important.”
He highlighted that the end of the pause resulted from Hamas breaking commitments, citing a terrorist attack in Jerusalem and firing rockets before the pause ended.
“It’s also important to understand why the pause came to an end. It came to an end because of Hamas. Hamas reneged on commitments it made. In fact, even before the pause came to an end, it committed an atrocious terrorist attack in Jerusalem, killing three people, wounding others, including Americans. It began firing rockets before the pause had ended. And as I said, it reneged on commitments it made in terms of releasing certain hostages.”
Blinken reiterated US support for peace in the region, and said that the US is focusing on the release of Israeli hostages.
“We’re determined to do everything we can to get everyone home, get them reunited with their families, including pursuing the process that worked for seven days. We had seven days of a pause; seven days of people coming home and being reunited with their families,” he said.
“So, we’re on that almost hour by hour. But meanwhile, we’ve also been very clear that we support Israel and its efforts to make sure that October 7th never happens again. We’ve also been very clear about the imperative of doing that in a way that puts a premium on protecting civilians and making sure that humanitarian assistance gets to those who need it. So that’s what we’re focused on, and we’re doing both at the same time,” he added.
“We remain intensely focused on getting everyone home, getting hostages back. It’s something that I also worked on today. So, we’re still at this. We’re also very much focused, as we’ve been all along, on trying to make sure that this conflict doesn’t spread, that it doesn’t escalate in other places. But we’re also using our diplomacy to look at not only what’s happening today and how we’re handling that, but also what happens the day after in Gaza and how we can get on the path to a just, lasting, and secure peace for Israelis, for Palestinians – in fact, for everyone in the region. And that’s also a big focus of our diplomacy,” he added.
This statement from US Secretary of State Blinken comes as the agreed truce between Israel and Hamas expired after seven days, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, Israel and Hamas resumed their war in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning after a week-long truce ended with the two sides failing to agree on the release of more hostages held by the militant group.
Israeli jets struck Hamas targets in Gaza soon after the cease-fire finished at 7 a.m. local time.
Earlier, US Secretary of State Blinken held a crucial meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Thursday (November 30), marking his second visit to the West Bank since the onset of the Israel-Hamas war, as reported by CNN.
His visit was in the backdrop of increased Israeli settler violence in the region following the October 7 attack on Israel.