US says burden is on Hamas to keep Gaza ceasefire

The United States welcomes the declaration of a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, and warns that the onus is on the Palestinian terror group to maintain the truce.

“This is a real opportunity. We strongly support the initiative,” Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken tells CNN, when asked about the Egyptian proposal for the pause in hostilities.

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

Blinken welcomes both sides’ commitment, but makes 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 says, referring to tunnels used by Hamas to infiltrate Israel.

“The burden is on Hamas, I think, to demonstrate it will live up to the ceasefire,” he continues. “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.”

— AFP contributed

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