Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
This undated photo shows Israeli Army 2nd. Lt. Hadar Goldin, 23 from Kfar Saba, central Israel. Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Friday, Aug. 1, 2014 that Goldin was apparently captured by Hamas militants who came through a tunnel from the Gaza Strip and another two soldiers were killed. An hour after Friday's cease-fire started, gunmen emerged from one or more Gaza tunnels and opened fire at Israeli soldiers, with at least one of the militants detonating an explosives vest, said Lerner. Goldin was apparently captured during the ensuing mayhem and taken back into Gaza through a tunnel.(AP Photo/ YNet News)
U.S. condemns ‘outrageous’ Gaza truce violations
Mideast conflict » The White House says the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian miltants was a “barbaric” action.
First Published Aug 01 2014 08:59 am • Last Updated Aug 01 2014 05:46 pm

Washington • The Obama administration on Friday condemned violations of the internationally-brokered Gaza cease-fire by Palestinian militants and said the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier was a "barbaric" action.

With the cease-fire in tatters and declared dead by Israel, President Barack Obama demanded that those responsible immediately release the kidnapped soldier unharmed. He and other U.S. officials did not directly blame the militant Hamas movement for the abduction, but they made clear they hold Hamas responsible for, or having influence over, the actions of all factions in Gaza.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"If they are serious about trying to resolve this situation, that soldier needs to be unconditionally released as soon as possible," Obama told reporters at the White House. He said putting the cease-fire back together would be difficult without the release.

"It’s going to be very hard to put a cease-fire back together again if Israelis and the international community can’t feel confident that Hamas can follow through on a cease-fire commitment," he said.

At the same time, he called the situation in Gaza "heartbreaking" and repeated calls for Israel to do more to prevent Palestinian civilian casualties.

"Innocent civilians caught in the crossfire have to weigh on our conscience, and we have to do more," Obama said.

Despite the collapse of the truce, Obama credited Secretary of State John Kerry for his work with the United Nations to forge one. He lamented criticism and "nitpicking" of Kerry’s attempts and said the effort would continue despite the latest setback.

Kerry himself denounced the attack as "outrageous," saying it was an affront to assurances to respect the cease-fire given to the United States and United Nations, which brokered the truce.

"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms today’s attack," Kerry said in a statement released by the State Department as he was flying back to the U.S. from an official trip to India.

Kerry learned of the attack aboard an Air Force plane as he was flying home from New Delhi, when an aide showed him press reports of the fresh outbreak of violence.


story continues below
story continues below

The aide said Kerry "immediately grasped the severity" of the situation and started calling diplomats across the Mideast. He spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the foreign ministers from Qatar and Turkey, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, and reached Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when his plane landed at a refueling stop at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He also spoke with U.S. national security adviser Susan Rice, the aide said. The aide was not authorized to discuss Kerry’s private calls publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

By the time Kerry was told about the broken truce, it was about 11:30 a.m. in Israel, and the fighting had already resumed more than two hours earlier.

In his statement, Kerry said it would be a "tragedy if this outrageous attack leads to more suffering and loss of life on both sides of this conflict."

"The international community must now redouble its efforts to end the tunnel and rocket attacks by Hamas terrorists on Israel and the suffering and loss of civilian life," he said.

According to Netanyahu’s office, the prime minister told Kerry that "Hamas has unilaterally and grossly violated the humanitarian cease-fire" and "will bear the consequences of their actions." That call came after the Israeli military reported that one of its soldiers was "feared" abducted just 90 minutes after the cease-fire took effect. Meanwhile, Palestinian officials said 35 Palestinians were killed by Israeli shelling.

Senior State Department officials traveling with Kerry said the primary U.S. focus is to find and return the kidnapped Israeli soldier, although concerns remain high about the safety of Palestinian civilians who could be killed or wounded in Israeli strikes. It’s not clear how soon — or even whether — cease-fire negotiations could resume, although it’s not unprecedented for talks to happen even during fighting.

The U.S. special envoy for the Mideast, Frank Lowenstein, was en route to Cairo and planned to continue on to speak with Egyptian officials who had offered to host cease-fire talks. It was not immediately clear if other U.S. officials would head to Cairo as initially planned. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, who was supposed to attend, delayed his plans to travel on Friday and was continuing to assess whether he would go at all.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.