At 1600 GMT Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak again reiterated what he has said before: the assault upon Gaza would continue, along side diplomtic efforts to secure a cease-fire.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, urged both Israel and Hamas to “just give up” the fighting.
Barak said, “We heard, and we respect the calls of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, and, of course, we are also monitoring developments on the Egyptian initiative, but the fighting goes on and the IDF is continuing to apply force.”
Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem January 11, 2009.(David Silverman/Pool/Reuters)
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday said Israel’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza was serving the interest of the Palestinian people, as well as that of Israel.
Above: Hamas rocket hit a house in Ashkelon, Israel, about 10 miles north of the Gaza Strip. A woman in the home was taken to the hospital for a panic attack. Photo: Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times
Israel officials are saying that Operation Cast Lead has not ended because Hamas has not agreed to a cease fire and continues to fire rockets into Israel.
The weakening of Hamas and the restoration of Israel’s level of deterrence are needed before the fighting will end, officals say.
For the first time today, Israeli tanks are inside Gaza City in great numbers.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Islamic militants of an “iron fist” unless they agree to Israel’s terms to end the fighting.
Hamas showed no signs of wavering, however, with its leader, Ismail Haniyeh, saying the militants were “closer to victory.”
Yet special Mideast envoy Tony Blair said elements were in place for a cease-fire.
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Mark Philips of CBS news, “We doubt that we will reoccupy” Gaza. “But in the Middle East, sometimes all options are bad.”
“It is now a matter for the two in combat. Neither one will leave the other the ‘victor,’” a United Nations humanitarian supply chief in Gaza told us.
John E. Carey
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