CORRECTS - Hamas accuses Blinken of seeking to exonerate Israel from obstructing Gaza cease-fire

CORRECTS - Hamas accuses Blinken of seeking to exonerate Israel from obstructing Gaza cease-fire

Hamas urges US to pressure Israel to accept deal that would lead to permanent cease-fire in Gaza

CORRECTS 11TH PARA

By Abdelsalam Fayez

ISTANBUL (AA) – Palestinian group Hamas has accused US Secretary of State Antony Blinken of seeking to exonerate Israel from obstructing the cease-fire.

“Blinken’s attempts to exonerate the (Israeli) occupation and hold us responsible for obstructing a cease-fire are part of his country’s complicity in the war of annihilation,” Hamas said in a statement late Wednesday.

On Monday, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution supporting a Gaza cease-fire proposal outlined by US President Joe Biden.

On May 31, Biden said that Israel presented a three-phase deal that would end hostilities in Gaza and secure the release of hostages held in the coastal enclave.

The plan includes a cease-fire, a hostage-prisoner exchange and the reconstruction of Gaza.

Hamas said it dealt “positively” and “responsibly” with all proposals to reach a cease-fire in Gaza and release all detainees.

“Israel continued to reject any permanent cease-fire, in a clear contradiction with the UN Security Council resolution and Biden’s initiative," Hamas said.

It urged Washington to pile pressure on Israel to accept a deal that would lead to a permanent cease-fire in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Blinken said that Hamas has proposed numerous changes to the cease-fire proposal outlined by Biden, adding that "some of the changes are workable, some are not."

A day earlier, Blinken said Netanyahu had "reaffirmed his commitment" to a Gaza cease-fire proposal during their meeting on Monday evening.

Netanyahu or any member of his government has not publicly welcomed the proposal.

Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since an Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire.

More than 37,200 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and more than 84,900 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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