President Obama is sending Secretary of State to the region on an emergency mission and the U.N. chief appealing from Cairo for an immediate cease-fire.
As The Huffington Post reports, Israel and Gaza’s rulers have staked tough and the gaps keep alive the threat of an Israeli ground invasion.
On Tuesday, residents of the region were burying militants and civilians killed in ongoing Israeli offensive, and barrages of rockets from Gaza sent terrified Israelis scurrying to take cover.
From Egypt, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon announced that he came to Gaza because of the “alarming situation.”
“This must stop, immediate steps are needed to avoid further escalation, including a ground operation,” Ban said. “Both sides must hold fire immediately … Further escalation of the situation could put the entire region at risk.”
A deputy White House national security adviser said Hillary Clinton would depart for the Mideast on Tuesday from Cambodia, where paid a visit to Southeast Asia with President Obama.
The official revealed that U.S. Secretary of State would begin her Mideast diplomacy by meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Then Clinton is scheduled to meet with senior officials of the Palestinian government in the West Bank before heading to Cairo to meet with Egyptian leaders.
President Obama, who has already called leaders in the region for de-escalating the violence, urging them to put an end to the firing of missiles into Israel by militants inside Gaza, saying “there is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.”
“We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself from missiles landing on people’s homes and workplaces and potentially killing civilians. And we will continue to support Israel’s right to defend itself,” he said.
He went on, adding: “If we’re serious about wanting to resolve this situation and create a genuine peace process, it starts with no more missiles being fired into Israel’s territory and that then gives us the space to try and deal with these long-standing conflicts that exist.”
The news about Clinton’s mission comes the next day after Israel said it preferred a peaceful solution to end Palestinian rocket fire from the enclave.
Mediator Egypt revealed that a deal for a truce to end the offensive is in its final stage. The leader of Hamas said the new conflict must be settled by Israel, while the country says its strikes are to halt Palestinian missile attacks.
Palestinian fire into Israel stopped at night but soon was resumed, with rockets targeting Tel Aviv. The two missiles were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome air shield.
Speaking shortly after the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel was ready to widen its offensive.
“We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organisations and the Israel Defence Forces are prepared for a significant expansion of the operation,” he said without further details.
The violence between Israel and Hamas this week has taken away lives of 81 Palestinians, including 37 civilians, as well as 3 Israeli civilians.