Blinken Blames Hamas for Breaking Truce With Israel

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken blamed Hamas for the broken truce on Friday and said that he was already seeing signs that Israel had taken new steps to protect civilians as it resumed its military campaign.

Speaking just before his departure from Dubai at the end of a two-day Middle East visit, Mr. Blinken said it was “important to understand why the pause came to an end: It came to an end because of Hamas. Hamas reneged on commitments it made.”

Israel has also publicly blamed Hamas for the end of the temporary truce, but Hamas has said Israeli airstrikes were to blame.

Mr. Blinken noted that, hours before the early morning rupture of the seven-day pause, Hamas “committed an atrocious terrorist attack in Jerusalem,” killing three people on Thursday. Israeli authorities said two Palestinian gunmen opened fire near a bus stop on the outskirts of Jerusalem in an attack that also wounded six others.

Mr. Blinken added that Hamas also fired rockets into Israel on Friday and failed to free hostages it had pledged to release.

He said that Israel had been taking steps aimed at preserving civilian life, including releasing public information about locations that would be largely spared from military attacks. During a visit on Thursday to Israel, Mr. Blinken met with Israeli leaders and urged them to limit civilian casualties, protect critical infrastructure like hospitals and power plants and ensure the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza in this next phase of the war.

Mr. Blinken spoke to reporters shortly after attending the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. On the sidelines of the session, he met with counterparts from several Arab states, including Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, as well as the Palestinian Authority. He said those discussions included “how we get on a path to a just and lasting peace,” and move toward a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.