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Blinken: Pause ‘came to an end because of Hamas’

The U.S. secretary of state addressed reporters at Al-Maktoum Airport Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken departs Tel Aviv en route to the U.N. Climate Conference, COP 28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec. 1, 2023. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken departs Tel Aviv en route to the U.N. Climate Conference, COP 28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on Dec. 1, 2023. Credit: Chuck Kennedy/U.S. State Department.

Speaking to reporters at Al-Maktoum Airport Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that it is important to remember why the “pause” in Gaza ended.

“It came to an end because of Hamas. Hamas reneged on commitments it made. In fact, even before the pause came to an end, it committed an atrocious terrorist attack in Jerusalem, killing three people, wounding others, including Americans,” he said.

Hamas “began firing rockets before the pause had ended, and as I said, it reneged on commitments it made in terms of releasing certain hostages,” the secretary added.

Blinken was in the Jewish state to question Israel’s war plans and to suggest that time was running out in its war with Hamas, per some media reports.

The U.S. secretary told reporters on Friday that his third visit to the region focused on trying to secure the release of hostages from Hamas, trying to “both sustain and increase” humanitarian aid to Gaza and “talking about the way forward and Israel’s efforts to make sure that Hamas never again has the ability to do what it did on Oct. 7.” 

“I made clear that after the pause it was imperative that Israel put in place clear protections for civilians and for sustaining humanitarian assistance going forward,” Blinken said. “As we’ve seen just today, Israel has already moved out on parts of that, including sending out information, making it clear where people can be in safe areas in Gaza.”

“We’ll be looking at that going forward. It’s very, very important,” Blinken said.

Barak Ravid, an Axios reporter, posted on social media on Friday afternoon that Israeli officials told him that the number of aid trucks coming into Gaza would return to the levels prior to the ceasefire.

“During the seven day pause, 200 aid trucks entered Gaza daily [as did] four trucks of fuel and four trucks of cooking gas. A lot of the aid was delivered to northern Gaza Strip,” he wrote. “The Biden administration made clear in recent days it expects the same amount of aid to enter Gaza even if [the] pause ends.”

“On Friday after fighting was resumed, only several dozen humanitarian aid trucks entered Gaza,” Ravid wrote. “The aid included water, food and medical supplies, Israeli officials said.”

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