News / USA

Obama: Hamas to Blame for Cease-fire Collapse

President Barack Obama speaks about lack of action in Congress, Aug. 1, 2014, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington.
President Barack Obama speaks about lack of action in Congress, Aug. 1, 2014, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington.
VOA News

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned a reported Hamas attack on Israeli soldiers in Gaza as a violation of the newly reached humanitarian cease-fire and called for the release of an Israeli soldier allegedly held hostage.

"That soldier needs to be released as soon as possible," he told reporters at an afternoon news conference on Friday at the White House.

President Obama said he has "unequivocally" condemned Hamas for taking actions against Israeli soldiers that led to to the breaking of short truces this week.

Israel declared a cease-fire over on Friday hours after it began, saying Hamas militants attacked two Israeli soldiers looking for tunnels in Gaza, killling two and reportedly abducting another one of them.

"I think it's going to be very hard to put a cease-fire back together again if Israelis and the international community can't feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a cease-fire commitment,"  President Obama said, adding that the U.S. will continue peace brokering efforts.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon had announced the 72-hour cease-fire late Thursday, in a statement Friday decried its “outrageous violation" and called for the missing soldier's immediate release.

Kerry called upon the international community to "redouble its efforts to end the tunnel and rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel and the suffering and loss of civilian life."

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, speaking on CNN, said the attack posed a "barbaric violation of the cease-fire agreement'' and repeated the call for the Israeli soldier's release.

The United States urged the international community to condemn the Hamas cease-fire violation in the "strongest possible terms,'' Earnest said.

"And we would encourage those who have influence with Hamas to get them back on to the terms of the cease-fire and to get them to abide by the agreements that they struck just yesterday,'' he added.

In his statement, Kerry said he already had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyau about the next steps in the Gaza crisis. Reuters reported that he has appealed to Qatar and Turkey in particular to help in freeing the soldier. 

Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian permanent observer to the United Nations, told CNN it was not certain Hamas had carried out the attack or violated the cease-fire.

Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev said Hamas militants had attacked Israeli soldiers roughly 90 minutes after the cease-fire.

"This appears to be an absolutely outrageous action by Hamas, using the cover of a cease-fire to conduct a surprise attack through a tunnel, killing Israeli soldiers and perhaps taking one hostage,'' Tony Blinken, White House deputy national security adviser, said on MSNBC. "We strongly, strongly condemn it.''

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by: Pedido from: West Africa
August 01, 2014 7:09 PM
Where were the Israelites before the 1967 war when they fought and took over the area that they must hand back to the asserted owners? If Israelis occupation of the present place is the fulcrum of the age long crises, what was the cause of the original trouble? I hate the way the children of Ishmael disregard human life. But, I realize that the curse in the Bible still trails them. They spread more rapidly than others, which probably contributes to their barbarism.. The deposed Morsi of Egypt sees nothing wrong in the hamas struggle, as he hails them. The Arab world sees no relevance in the survival of those they consider not their own. Why must the entire world worship them? See how they are decimating people around the world, making GOD seem incapable of satisfying them. They claim righteousness by wearing white garments but their heart is a furnace! God created everything for a purpose, even the devil, for the day of trouble! The human world must unite against the shackles of demons.

In Response

by: David from: Houston, Texas
August 02, 2014 8:31 AM
Pedido: In 1967, the descendants of Ishmael attacked Israel to wipe the Jews into the sea. That was the year I was born. The Israelis overcame the offensive of several vicious countries. That is how they expanded the Israeli borders.


by: David from: Mccormack
August 01, 2014 6:36 PM
Are we surprised? Not at all, these cowards hide behind woman and children while they instigate and antagonize Israelis. These men are not men but cowards who will soon be killed. Israel will clean up these cowards very soon. I cannot even refer to them as soldiers because they are too chicken to wear a uniform to identify themselves but rather hide in the Mosque. The blood of your children and woman is on your own hands.

In Response

by: TOPE from: LA
August 01, 2014 8:28 PM
Yeah. Of course Israel keeping these people under siege for such a long time and offering them no hope for the future is absolutely right. My friend Israel is on the wrong side of history and that will come to pass in no time. Trust me. Hamas with it's unsophisticated weaponry is plucking down Israeli soldiers like never before and Israel with all its sophisticated weaponry has manged to mainly kill women and children. Who is the barbarian? who is the bullY? and who are the terrorists? The world is catching on to these lies and the same old reasoning. It's only a matter of time now before the whole world turns on Israel. Watch.


by: Guy Fawkes from: USA
August 01, 2014 6:06 PM
No, see, when you agree to a ceasefire and then continue destroying enemy infrastructure, that means YOU broke the ceasefire. What Israel and the US don't seem to grasp is that diplomatic agreements aren't one sided demands for the other side to comply with.


by: frank john from: canada
August 01, 2014 4:17 PM
Obama's looking pretty bad what do you think maybe the jobs to big for him. I think maybe he should have taken a few history lessons
then he would know a little bit of why all this is happening


by: frank john from: canada
August 01, 2014 4:13 PM
What part of ceasefire do the Israelias not understand .Cease fire means to stop all action shooting and advancing.Strange ceasefire anway when you are running out of amo call a ceasefire so big brother can come to your rescue with more amo
154057

In Response

by: Jack from: Canada
August 01, 2014 6:43 PM
The agreement didn't prevent the Israelis from searching tunnels. Hamas is completely at fault here for using an internationally developed cease fire as cover for a surprise attack. The sooner the terrorist organization Hanas is destroyed, the sooner peace can return.


by: Jim from: USA
August 01, 2014 4:00 PM
More Israelis should spend some time in Gaza. That might help promote better mutual understanding.


by: us from: us
August 01, 2014 3:45 PM
Sounds like more propaganda to me--The U.S. has mastered this well.


by: pirooz from: iran
August 01, 2014 3:30 PM
hamas is not isis or other radical islamic militant although israel leaders are very revengeful and try to show hamas a radical militia ,i think hamas is absolutely right to defend palestine since israel occupied their land specially in the west bank territory . israel acting bully against palestine because they dont have army unite to defend them against israel , moreover israel is genociding and the us is its compliance , both must be punished as a war crime against ordinary people . if israel want to hunt hamas why they lunch air strike rather than ground attack . it is very shameful that we hear on media that mr obama not only convict hamas but also resuply israel when many many palestine children killed . even before this war when the 3 israel teens killed there were some deaths of palestine teen deaths that killed by israel soldires but non of american leared paied attention to the tragedy and the israel teens incident probably has been in the revenge of many palestine teens who are died in palestine by israel soldiers for no reason . it is a kind of deal . if u kill me then i have some avenger to kill u and obama must learn this lesson forever

In Response

by: Amiller from: Arizona USA
August 01, 2014 5:30 PM
The stated goal of Hamas - death of all Jews and conversion or death of all Gentiles. Hamas Minister of the Interior in a speech available on youtube "We are an industry of death... this is something our women and children and elderly excel at. We crave death as you do life..." By their own words Hamas is very much the same as ISIL. Just because they don't repeat the words in English doesn't mean that the world will pretend they weren't said.
We in America generally take them at their own words (that they say to fellow Arabs, not what they say to Western media).


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 01, 2014 2:17 PM
If Israel continues to behave like a chicken in fight with Hamas, it is very annoying. What do they expect? When Hamas kidnapped the three Israeli youths that led to the reprisal killing before the conflagration, it denied the deed. Hamas has just one reason for kidnapping any Israeli, soldier or civilian - ransom. When in the last episode it became too hot for Hamas to handle as there was no way it was going to use those three boys to ask for the release of its own militants in Israeli jail, it liquidated them. Once again Hamas is going to toe the same line; it's going to deny the kidnapping of the soldiers by which it has violated a cease fire, incurred widespread condemnation, and Turkey and Qatar are going to advice the liquidation of someone it has taken for POW in cold blood. How Hamas manages to hide its POWs and kidnap victims away in Turkey, Qatar and Iran is the magic anyone is yet to unravel. But if within the three days of the cease fire - violate or not - Hamas does not return the soldier it abducted, then Israel should be granted the freedom to clean out Gaza Strip - any way it wants to do it, and perhaps relocate remaining civilians to the West Bank.

The UN agencies should try to pull out of Gaza to avoid crying to the world if Israel's or Hamas' bullets stray from their targets and hit the wrong target. Under any guise, the UN itself is running in violation exposing its staff to danger of falling into crossfire, as well as it has failed to sensitize the community so as to evacuate all civilians from the war zone instead of crying to the world about war violations. In war situation, anything can happen. It is only necessary for those not involved to do the right thing - evacuate - and save lives. Unless those claiming to be UN agency workers are themselves die hard fundamentalist agents posing as humanitarian workers.


by: AndyfromChicago from: Chicago, USA
August 01, 2014 2:13 PM
Hamas' use of a cease-fire as cover to engage in a surprise attack and take hostages makes any further cease-fires meaningless. Israel should disregard any further calls for cease-fires and finish disarming the Gaza Strip.

The Gazan people need to get their act together. They must reject a Hamas-led government that calls the destruction of Israel, and stop supporting terrorists who hide behind them to shoot rockets at civilians. Until then, this dispute cannot be resolved peacefully. Of course, these would be many of the same Palestinians I remember watching as they danced in the streets with joy on 9/11/01.

The continued loss of civilian life is horrific, and we are civilized enough that it does not make us want to dance. However, the first duty of any government - including Israel - is to protect its citizens from external attack. If Hamas cannot or will not participate in a meaningful political settlement, and if the Gazans continue to let Hamas operate among them, then Israel must resolve the dispute militarily.

Consider how we would react if some quasi-governmental terrorist group in a Cuban city started shooting missiles at Miami and refused to stop. The U.S. Air Force would immediately airstrike those responsible and bomb them into dust.

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