Kerry Condemns Hamas Rejection of Ceasefire

US Secretary of State John Kerry states Israel has the right to defend itself against 'brazen' Hamas attacks; pushes for a ceasefire.

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Talia Blatman,

John Kerry
John Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry harshly condemned the Hamas terrorist organization on Tuesday, for persisting in launching rockets into Israel from Gaza despite Israel’s entering into a unilateral ceasefire earlier in the day.

"I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets, in multiple numbers, in the face of a goodwill effort (to secure) a cease-fire," Kerry told reporters while at a meeting on the subject of Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna.

"I urge all parties to observe the cease-fire," Kerry said, stressing his opinion that Egypt should be afforded “time and space to make it work,” alluding to a possible future ceasefire accepted and maintained by both Israel and Hamas.

Kerry explained that the entire international community, not just the United States, is in favor of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, as “the potential of an even greater escalation of violence” continues to bubble below the surface.

"It is important for Hamas not to be provoking and purposefully trying to play politics in order to gain greater followers for it opposition, and use the innocent lives of civilians who may hide in buildings and use as shields and put in danger. That is against the laws of war," he said.

"We don't want to see that, nobody does... But Israel has the right to defend itself," Kerry said, knowing that Israel had threatened to abandon its unilateral ceasefire should Hamas continue to launch rockets into Israel, which it did later on Tuesday after hours of restraint in the face of dozens of rocket attacks from Gaza.

Hamas had rejected the Egypt-initiated ceasefire, claiming the organizations demands had not been met and so agreeing to a ceasefire would essentially mean conceding defeat, a move Hamas was not prepared to make.