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Washington: Burden is on Hamas to Keep Ceasefire

The United States welcomes 72-hour ceasefire, stresses the onus is on Hamas to maintain the truce.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/5/2014, 6:15 AM

White House
White House
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The United States welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire in fighting between Israel and Hamas on Monday but warned that the onus was on Hamas to maintain the truce, AFP reports.

"This is a real opportunity. We strongly support the initiative," Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told CNN, when asked about an Egyptian proposal for a 72-hour pause in hostilities.

Separately, both Hamas and Israel have accepted the Egyptian initiative, under which both sides are supposed to halt offensive activity in and around Gaza from 8:00 am (0500 GMT) on Tuesday.

Blinken welcomed both sides' commitment, but made it clear that Washington feels the burden is on the Hamas administration in Gaza to keep the guns silent, after previous ceasefires collapsed.

"Israel has achieved its core objectives in Gaza. It's dealt with the tunnels. It's able to deal with the rockets outside Gaza if it has to," Blinken said, referring to tunnels used by Hamas terrorists to infiltrate Israel.

"The burden is on Hamas, I think, to demonstrate it will live up to the ceasefire," he stressed.

"Then there's an opportunity to get to a more durable ceasefire and deal with some of the underlying issues. It has to start with Israel's security, dealing much more definitively with the rockets, with the tunnels over time, but also with the development of Gaza, so that people can live under different conditions," said Blinken.

Hamas has taken advantage of past temporary ceasefires to continue to fire rockets at Israeli citizens.

On Friday, the group violated a 72-hour ceasefire shortly after it went into effect, killing two IDF soldiers and kidnapping a third, Hadar Goldin, who was declared dead by the IDF on Saturday night.

On Monday, Israel announced a seven-hour humanitarian ceasefire. Hamas took advantage of this ceasefire as well, firing rockets at southern Israel just two hours after it began.