White House blames Hamas for collapse of truce talks in Gaza

National Security Council spokesman says a reduced number of lorries carrying aid would be entering Gaza at Washington's request

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby speaks to reporters during a daily briefing at the White House. AFP
Powered by automated translation

Live updates: Follow the latest on Israel-Gaza

The White House on Friday blamed Hamas for a breakdown in talks to extend a seven-day pause in fighting in the Israel-Gaza war.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the US was working on resuming the entry of aid into Gaza, but that Hamas needs to produce a list of hostages to be freed.

“We continue to work with Israel, Egypt and Qatar on efforts to restore the humanitarian pause in Gaza,” Mr Kirby told reporters on a call.

“But lets be clear about this: it’s because of Hamas that this pause ended. The onus is on Hamas.”

His comments came as Israel resumed its bombardment of Gaza, killing 178 Palestinians and injuring more than 500, according to local health officials.

A seven-day truce negotiated by Qatar and Egypt expired on Friday, despite international pressure to extend it into a permanent ceasefire.

More than 15,000 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed during the eight weeks of war and a humanitarian crisis is worsening in the coastal enclave.

Palestinian families flee north Gaza after fighting resumes – video

Palestinian families flee north Gaza after fighting resumes

Palestinian families flee north Gaza after fighting resumes

The UN says 1.7 million people in Gaza have been displaced and water, food, medicine and other essentials are in short supply.

Israel says its aim in Gaza is to eradicate Hamas after members of the militia group carried out an attack on October 7 in which they killed 1,200 people and took about 240 hostages.

During the temporary truce, Hamas released 80 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinian detainees held in Israeli prisons. Aid also flowed more freely into Gaza.

Hamas released another 25 hostages, most of them Thai citizens, under a separate agreement.

The administration of US President Joe Biden has said that it supports Israel's right to defend itself, while at the same time stressing for the need for humanitarian aid to continue to flow into Gaza.

Since October 7, aid has been trickling into the enclave through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

Mr Kirby said that aid had stopped entering after the truce ended, but that a reduced number of lorries carrying assistance would be able to enter at Washington's request.

“It looks like we're going to be able to resume it – probably in terms of dozens of trucks versus hundreds of trucks – but that's a good sign,” Mr Kirby said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel and the West Bank on Thursday, meeting Israeli and Palestinian leaders on his third trip to the region since the war erupted.

Mr Blinken tried to push for an extension of the truce and said that Palestinian civilians in southern Gaza must be protected when Israel resumes its military operations.

American officials are also trying to push Mr Netanyahu to rein in extremist Jewish settlers, who have attacked Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and forced more than 1,000 from their homes since October 7.

Mr Kirby said that the Biden administration is considering visa bans to the US for extremist settlers who are perpetrating violence against Palestinians.

“It's something that we're looking at,” Mr Kirby said.

Updated: December 01, 2023, 7:58 PM