U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry cancelled a trip to Egypt to help broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, based on the assumption that Hamas would agree to the Egyptian-proposed cease-fire agreement and hostilities would end.
Of course, Hamas rejected the proposed cease-fire, even though Israel accepted it, and the Gaza-based organization continues to launch unsophisticated rockets into Israeli territory. Over 76 rockets have been launched from the Gaza strip since the cease-fire was set to begin on Tuesday morning.
Although Kerry had cancelled his original trip to Egypt, he stated that he is prepared to fly back to the region at any moment, should the need arise. For now, he remains hopeful that the Egyptian-proposed cease-fire will produce results.
“The Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire and negotiations provides an opportunity to end the violence and restore calm,” Kerry said. “We welcome the Israeli cabinet’s decision to accept it. We urge all other parties to accept the proposal.”
The proposed cease-fire was intended to temporarily stop violence so that both Israel and Hamas could attempt to reach a peaceful resolution.
“Egypt shall receive guarantees from both sides of their commitment to implement what has been agreed upon, and shall follow up on its implementation and engage with either side in the case of any action that impinges on its stability,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
Kerry, who is currently on a diplomatic visit in Vienna, will return to Washington after talking with Iranians about their nuclear program. While in Vienna he condemned Hamas, but has yet to take any decisive action on the matter.
“I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a cease-fire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together, that the international community strongly supports,” Kerry told reporters in Vienna on Tuesday morning.
Kerry will continue to engage in conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian government officials and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Perhaps reason could prevail [within Hamas],” Kerry added. “If the political wing could deal with the military wing.”