Rockets Rain Down on Israel: Preparing For Gaza Battle?

Israeli diplomats have been instructed to highlight the plight of Israelis under rocket fire from Gaza, officials said Monday, with the apparent aim of preparing world opinion for possible stepped-up action by Israel‘s military.

By MATTI FRIEDMAN, Associated Press Writer

Rocket fire by Gaza militants has spiked in recent days, and public pressure for an Israeli response has grown. Israeli leaders have consulted, discussed contingency plans and are now trying to prepare foreign governments for the possibility that the military could move beyond air strikes against militants and act with more force — even possibly sending ground forces into the territory controlled by the Islamic group Hamas.

There was a lull in militant fire Monday. Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha said his group was holding its fire for 24 hours in the hope that Israel would allow in humanitarian aid.

Israeli diplomats are meeting with their counterparts and decision-makers abroad as part of their new effort, Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

“People abroad perhaps do not understand the real distress of Israelis in the south who live with the rocket threat. Then you wake up in the morning with an Israeli response and you don’t understand where it came from,” Palmor said.

Israeli soldiers sit atop tanks at a position near the border ...
Israeli soldiers sit atop tanks at a position near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, in southern Israel, Monday, Dec. 22, 2008. Israeli diplomats have been instructed to highlight the plight of Israelis living under increasing rocket fire from Gaza, officials said Monday, in a step aimed at preparing world opinion for a stepped-up response, or even a ground invasion, by Israel’s military.(AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Related:
Israel Called on “Brink of War”

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