Baird condemns Hamas as ceasefire crumbles
Published Friday, August 1, 2014 12:48PM EDT
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is blaming Hamas for bringing a disappointing quick end to a 72-hour ceasefire, saying the group has "lost all credibility."
Fighting broke out less than two hours after a cease-fire announced by the U.S. and the United Nations took effect at 8:00 a.m. Friday.
While Israel and Hamas are accusing each other of breaking the ceasefire, Baird said it was the apparent capture of an Israeli soldier that re-ignited tensions in the 25-day-old conflict.
Hamas has neither confirmed nor denied the capture, saying it was being used as a cover for a "massacre."
But in a statement Friday, Baird said Canada is appalled that Hamas has "yet again" blatantly violated this agreement.
“The abduction by Hamas of an Israeli soldier is a disgraceful and repugnant act and once again shows Hamas’s complete disregard for peace and the well-being of the Palestinian people," Baird said.
“Hamas has lost all credibility, and we must continue to work to isolate this terrorist organization that values death over peace."
Further violence could have been avoided, Baird added, if Hamas had chosen to lay down its arms and demilitarize Gaza.
“Israel will now be forced to continue defending itself as long as Hamas continues its rocket attacks against civilians and its campaign of terror through its vast tunnel network; Hamas will be solely to blame for any further loss of life."
The White House has also condemned the apparent kidnapping, describing it as an "absolutely outrageous" action by Hamas.