Israel’s security cabinet met for four hours to proposals made by Bernard Kouchner, the French foreign minister, that Israel’s offensive should stop for 48 hours to allow aid delivery.
The security cabinet was so divided on the issue that an order was given by Ehud Olmert, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, forbidding details of the discussion being released to the press.
Tim Butcher in Jerusalem
It is understood Ehud Barak, the defence minister, favoured a 48 hour lull to probe Hamas’s willingness to discuss a cessation of rocket fire from Gaza but Mr Olmert and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister, disagreed.
They argued that a lull would ease pressure on the Islamist movement and allow it to regroup.
The meeting eventually broke up with Mr Regev saying that “at this time the operation will continue”.
He stressed that Israel was allowing some humanitarian aid into Gaza already.