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Secretary of State Kerry condemns Hamas

Secretary of State Kerry condemns Hamas

Press Conference in Vienna – 15 July 2014


"I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas, in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers, in the face of the good will effort to offer a cease fire in which Egypt and Israel joined together and the international community strongly supports the compelling need to have a ceasefire.

At the same time there are great risks in what is happening there and in the potential of an even greater escalation of violence. We don’t want to see that, nobody does, nor does Israel. But Israel has a right to defend itself and it is important for Hamas not to be provoking and purposefully trying to play politics in order to gain greater followers for its opposition, and use the innocent lives of civilians who they hide in buildings and use as shields and put in danger. That is against the laws of war. And that’s why they are a terrorist organization.

So we need to remember what is at stake here and we will continue to work for a ceasefire. Now at the moment one of the reasons that I am going to Washington and not to Egypt is because there was this offer on the table, and we believe that it was important to give this offer an opportunity, and I still think, perhaps reason could prevail if the political wing can deal with the military wing, and Egypt can have some leverage, let’s see what happens.

But we are prepared, as the United States is always prepared, President Obama has said this again and again, to do everything in our power to help the parties come together, to work, to create a climate for genuine negotiations, to be able to deal with the issues that truly separate these parties. And we stand prepared to do that. I am prepared to fly back to the region tomorrow if I have to or the next day or the next in order to pursue the prospects if this doesn't work. But they deserve, the Egyptians deserve the time and the space to be able to try to make this initiative work. And we hope it will.

We urge all parties to support this ceasefire. And we ask all the members of the Arab community, as they did yesterday at the Arab League meeting in Cairo, to continue to press to try to get Hamas to do the right thing here, which is cease the violence, engage in a legitimate negotiation and protect the lives of people that they seem all too willing to put to risk".


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