Coming up

Don't miss




Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more


Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more


Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more


Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more


Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more


French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more


Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more


Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Live: ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

  • Air Algérie crash: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

International pressure for halt to hostilities grows

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2008-12-31

Foreign powers have stepped up the pressure on both Israel and Hamas to stop hostilities after four days of attacks which have seen 384 Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip.

Read the FRANCE 24 Observers on "Is the Israeli intervention justified?"


Watch our Face Off debate 'Gaza: how far will it go?'



On the fifth day of the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, attacks continue amid concerted diplomatic efforts to arrive at a truce between Israel and Hamas.


The Israeli cabinet concluded at a Wednesday meeting in Tel Aviv that the French proposal for a 48-hour ceasefire on humanitarian grounds was unrealistic because it would not guarantee the end of the Palestinian rocket fire. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner pushed the idea of a humanitarian truce after a meeting on Tuesday night in Paris with his European Union counterparts.


"That proposal contained no guarantees of any kind that Hamas will stop the rockets and smuggling," Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP. "It is not realistic to expect Israel to cease fire unilaterally with no mechanism to enforce the cessation of shooting and terror from Hamas."

Map of Israeli offensive in Gaza, Picture AFP


‘Unrealistic’ truce proposal


Palmor added that Israel still intended to examine other ceasefire proposals while another Israeli official suggested that France may make amendments to its plan. Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is expected to meet President Sarkozy in Paris on Jan 1. The French President could stop in Israel on his way to Lebanon on Jan 6.


The Arab League is also holding an emergency session on how to deal with Israel’s offensive on Gaza. Arab League Secretary General Amr Mussa called for an immediate meeting of rival Palestinian factions.


The latest casualty count since the aerial onslaught began on Saturday is 384 dead and more than 800 wounded, according to Palestinian medical sources. A UN agency said at least 62 of the dead were civilians.


Hamas attacks into Israel continue


A precarious calm descended on Gaza early on Wednesday. According to FRANCE 24’s Gaza correspondent Radjaa Abou Daga – one of the few journalists reporting from inside the enclave - "attacks inside Gaza city have stopped but not in the north and the south of the Gaza Strip."


But the attacks failed to put an end to Hamas rocket attacks into Israel – the original cause of the latest Israeli offensive. At least four people – including an Israeli soldier – have been killed by Hamas rocket and mortar attacks since Saturday.

About forty Israeli strikes targeted ministry buildings in Gaza early on Tuesday.  Credit: AFP Photo


Reporting from the Eretz crossing at the Gaza border, FRANCE 24 correspondent Lucas Menget said Hamas still had resources. “We just witnessed a Qassam rocket fire behind us. Three rockets were fired toward Beersheba this morning, two of them exploded in the desert. This tends to prove that Hamas still has resources.”


According to the Israeli military, two rockets fired from the Gaza Strip hit the city of Beersheba on Tuesday, 42 km inside Israel - the deepest such attack yet by militants, who have allegedly launched more than 400 rockets across the border since Saturday.


The Israeli army is still barring any foreign journalists from entering Gaza, making it difficult to fully assess the situation inside the Hamas-held territory.

The Israeli operation killed more than 360 people in four days.  Credit: AFP Photo


Signs of divisions in the Israeli cabinet


Hamas was cool to the idea of a truce. It said it was up to Israel to stop firing and lift the blockade of Gaza.


"You can't equate the victim and the jailer," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum was quoted saying to reporters. "What is required at this time is an Arab and international effort to stop the (Israeli) aggression and open the (border) crossings.”


And within the Israeli cabinet, there were growing signs of divisions on the prospect of a ceasfire deal.


FRANCE 24’s Jerusalem correspondent Marc de Chalvron said Defence Minister Ehud Barak was more inclined to accept the French proposal. “He thinks that the aerial offensive is coming to an end. He’s already discussed it twice with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner after initially opposing it.”


Meanwhile, Israeli ground troops are still said to be readying for a possible incursion.


If a ceasefire were to be accepted, its enforcement could take a few days, leaving time for Israeli ground troops to take a few forays inside Gaza, even briefly, says Chalvron.

To read our 'Observers' account on Israel's high-tech weaponry, click here.


Note:  Because of the high number of user reactions to the Gaza conflict, we are posting only a selection on the site. Please keep your reactions short, relevant and civil. (See our Rules of Conduct.)





Date created : 2008-12-31