Posts Tagged ‘palestine’

Palestinian men, reflected in a broken mirror, look at the damage in a bedroom of their house, which was occupied by Israeli soldiers during the conflict, in Mughraka, central Gaza strip, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009. Israel withdrew the last of its troops from the Gaza Strip before dawn Wednesday, the military said, and pursued diplomatic efforts to stanch the flow of arms into the Hamas-ruled territory. Some 1,300 Palestinians were killed, more than half of them civilians, Gaza health officials and the U.N. have reported. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Palestinian men, reflected in a broken mirror, look at the damage in a bedroom of their house, which was occupied by Israeli soldiers during the conflict, in Mughraka, central Gaza strip, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009. Israel withdrew the last of its troops from the Gaza Strip before dawn Wednesday, the military said, and pursued diplomatic efforts to stanch the flow of arms into the Hamas-ruled territory. Some 1,300 Palestinians were killed, more than half of them civilians, Gaza health officials and the U.N. have reported. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

The last Israeli troops left the Gaza Strip before dawn Wednesday, the military said, as Israel dispatched its foreign minister to Europe in a bid to rally international support to end arms smuggling into the Hamas-ruled territory.

The AP reported that the timing of the pullout reflected Israeli hopes to defuse the crisis in Gaza before President Barack Obama entered the White House. The military said troops remain massed on the Israeli side of the border and are poised to take action if militants violate a fragile three-day cease-fire.

The troops’ exit marked the end of an Israeli offensive that ravaged Gaza and left a total of 1,284 Palestinians dead and 4,336 wounded, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. The rights group, which has dispatched researchers to collect the names of the dead, said 894 of those killed were civilians.

The Israeli military says 500 Palestinian militants were killed in the fighting. Gaza’s militant groups claim only some 150 of the dead were armed fighters.

Israel launched the offensive to permanently halt years of militant rocket fire on growing numbers of Israelis and to halt the smuggling of arms that turned Hamas into a potent threat to much of southern Israel. But by Wednesday, some of the tunnels on the Egyptian border appeared to be back in business, with workers clearing blocked passageways, bulldozers carrying out other repairs, and fuel already being brought from Egypt into Gaza, according to AP Television News footage.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was heading to Brussels on Wednesday, hoping to clinch a deal committing the European Union to contribute forces, ships and technology to anti-smuggling operations, Israeli officials said.

Last week, the U.S. signed an anti-smuggling deal with Israel calling for expanded intelligence cooperation between the two countries and other U.S. allies in the Middle East and Europe.

Gaza remained tense Wednesday. Israeli navy ships fired rounds of machine-gun fire at the beaches of northern Gaza, and the military said a Gazan fishing vessel had strayed into an area declared off-limits by the Israeli navy.

The death toll in Gaza has provoked international outrage. In Israel, however, the war has strong backing, because it is seen as a legitimate response to militants who now have one-eighth of the population within rocket range.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon left the region early Wednesday after touring Gaza and southern Israel. Ban called for an investigation into the Israeli shelling of U.N. compounds in Gaza during the fighting, which he termed ‘outrageous.’ He also called militant rocket attacks against Israel ‘appalling and unacceptable.’

The Israeli military said it has launched an internal investigation into allegations about its use of white phosphorus munitions. U.N. officials and human rights groups have alleged Israel used such weapons, typically employed to illuminate targets or create smoke screens. Amnesty International has said Israel’s firing of white phosphorus shells in densely populated residential areas of Gaza is a war crime.

Both sides declared cease-fires that went into effect Sunday, but the arrangements remain shaky. Israel reported mortar shelling from Gaza on Tuesday, and the Palestinians say Israeli troops shot and killed two Gaza farmers along the border after the truce took hold.

The fighting ended before Israel achieved its aims, though world leaders have pledged to assist in efforts to keep militants from restocking war-depleted arsenals.

The U.S. has promised to supply detection and surveillance equipment, as well as logistical help and training to Israel, Egypt and other nations in the region. The equipment and training would be used to monitor Gaza’s land and sea borders.

The Israeli-American agreement also calls for the U.S. to expand work with its NATO partners, particularly in the Red Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Aden, Indian Ocean and eastern Africa.

At the signing ceremony in Washington, Livni described the deal as ‘a vital complement for a cessation of hostility’ in the troubled region. Shortly after, she said she hoped European countries, notably Britain, France and Germany, would work out similar agreements with the Israelis.

Although signed by the Bush administration on its last working day, the agreement is binding on the Obama administration.

Most of the smuggling was carried out through tunnels underneath the eight-mile (15-kilometer) border between Egypt and Gaza border. Egypt has proved unable or unwilling to halt the flow of weapons and medium-range rockets coming through the tunnels, alongside fuel and consumer goods.

Israel bombed most of the tunnels during the offensive.
Iran, one of Hamas’ main backers, rejected the international attempt to deny the militant group weapons. In statements reported Wednesday on the Web site of Iranian state TV, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that as Israel is well-armed, it would be wrong to question the Palestinians about obtaining weapons.

Israel says Iran provides the group with cash, weapons and training. Tehran denies giving any weapons to Hamas.

P/S: FINALLY~

Advertisements
In this photo released by the Israeli Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, talks with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, during their meeting in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Ban Ki-moon is visiting the Gaza Strip to inspect the devastation wrought by Israel's three-week onslaught. (AP Photo/GPO, Avi Ohayon, HO) ** ISRAEL OUT **

In this photo released by the Israeli Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, right, talks with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, during their meeting in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2009. Ban Ki-moon is visiting the Gaza Strip to inspect the devastation wrought by Israel's three-week onslaught. (AP Photo/GPO, Avi Ohayon, HO) ** ISRAEL OUT **

Confronted by stark scenes of destruction, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, and Israel was poised to withdraw its troops before the U.S. presidential inauguration later in the day.

Ban, on a Middle East tour, was the highest-ranking international figure to visit the territory since separately declared ceasefires by Israel and Hamas ended a 22-day Israeli offensive and Palestinian cross-border rocket attacks.

As reported by Reuters, ‘The secretary general was keen to express solidarity with the people of Gaza who have suffered so much over the past few weeks and the U.N. staff who have continued heroically to provide assistance despite the difficulties,’ said Ahmad Fawzi, a spokesman for Ban.

Israeli political sources said Israel planned to complete its troop pullout before Barack Obama’s inauguration, scheduled for 1700 GMT. Analysts saw the withdrawal as an effort to avoid any tension with the new U.S. president.

Amid crowds waving Hamas flags, Ban drove in a convoy to the compound of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the city of Gaza.

Last Thursday, Israeli fire set ablaze the UNRWA facility’s food and fuel warehouse, an incident Ban described at the time as ‘an outrage.’ Israel apologized but said it was prompted by fire from gunmen at the compound.

Many Palestinians returned to the rubble of what used to be their homes in Gaza city suburbs that were hard hit during the fighting. They picked through debris, trying to salvage belongings.

Two children playing with unexploded ordnance were killed when it detonated, Hamas officials said.

Ban, who met Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert before traveling to the Gaza Strip, planned to visit southern Israel, an area hit by Palestinian rockets during the Gaza war, later in the day.

At the prime minister’s office, Ban said he wanted to help to make the ceasefire ‘durable.’

World leaders are keen to cement a truce and avoid any more bloodshed in Gaza where more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed in Israel’s air and ground strikes launched on December 27 with the declared aim of ending rocket attacks.

RUINED INFRASTRUCTURE


In a report denied by the Israeli military, Hamas said an Israeli force holding a position near the town of Jabalya shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian.

Residents of Maghazi refugee camp said Israeli tanks had shelled houses, causing several casualties. An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

Gaza’s infrastructure has been left in ruins and the repair bill was estimated by the Palestinian statistics bureau to be about $1.9 billion.

Hamas said 5,000 homes, 16 government buildings and 20 mosques were destroyed and that 20,000 houses were damaged. Israel has said militants hid weapons inside the mosques.

Palestinian militant groups said 112 of their fighters and 180 Hamas policemen were killed. Israel put its dead at 10 soldiers and said three civilians were killed in rocket attacks.

Gaza medical officials said the Palestinian dead included at least 700 civilians. Israel, which accused Hamas of endangering non-combatants by operating in densely populated areas, said hundreds of militants were among the dead.

In Geneva, World Health Organization head Margaret Chan warned of a looming health crisis in the Gaza Strip.

Saudi Arabia pledged $1 billion for rebuilding and the European Union said the bloc’s foreign ministers planned to meet in Brussels to discuss humanitarian aid and Israeli demands for the prevention of weapons smuggling to Gaza.

Israel had launched its offensive with a vow to ‘change the reality’ for southern border towns that had been the target of rocket fire from Hamas and other militant groups since 2001.

Olmert has declared the mission accomplished, noting diplomatic efforts by the United States, Egypt and European nations to prevent Hamas rearming. Israel has vowed to respond to any renewed flow of arms to Gaza.

The fighting ended just weeks before a February 10 Israeli election. Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party is still the front-runner but Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s Labour party has gained in popularity.

Hamas proclaimed victory despite the destruction in Gaza, and its armed wing vowed to replenish its arsenal of rockets.

But Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said talks would continue on Egypt’s proposal for a long-term truce that would assure the reopening of crossings into Gaza, including the Rafah terminal with Egypt that was the main access to the outside world.

Hamas seized control of Gaza from Abbas’s Fatah forces in 2007 after winning an election the year before.
Israel and the West boycotted governments led by Hamas because the group rejects Israel’s right to exist.

P/S: In other words. . .Israel LOST. Hamas WINS. Is this over yet? I don’t thing so as ‘Israel has vowed to respond to ANY renewed flow of arms to Gaza’. I think the Israelis backed out alright, but just for a while until they find another ridiculous reason to attack Gaza again.

Hamas leader killed

Confirmed: Hamas leader killed

Hamas officials confirmed the death of Interior Minister Saeed Seyyam.

A top aide, Seyyam’s brother and his brother’s family were also killed in the attack on a house in the Jabalya refugee camp, as reported on SkyNews.

It comes as Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said the shelling of the UN headquarters in Gaza had been ‘a grave mistake’ which was being taken ‘very seriously’.

Diplomatic efforts to broker a deal to end the fighting are continuing in Cairo tonight.

Hamas has told Egyptian mediators it would agree to a year-long renewable ceasefire in Gaza if Israel pulls out all its forces within five to seven days and reopens border crossings immediately, sources said.

In its proposal to Israel, Hamas demanded the opening of all of Gaza’s border crossings be guaranteed by Egypt and the international community.

Hamas told Egypt it was open to the deployment of Turkish monitors but objected to a proposal that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ presidential guard be stationed at the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

An Israeli official said the country’s leaders would decide on their next move following a briefing by their envoy, senior Israeli defence official Amos Gilad, who has met Egyptian mediators in Cairo.

Hamas’ armed wing has vowed to avenge the death of Seyyam, an interior minister who was in charge of 13,000 police and security officials, and a Hamas official in Damascus, Mohammed Nazzal, insisted the killing of its leaders will not make the militant group budge on its tough stance toward Israel.

The Israeli army has confirmed the airstrike.

Israel has said it attacked the United Nations building after coming under fire from Palestinian militants within the compound.

The Israeli artillery attack set the compound on fire, destroyed tons of food and humanitarian supplies and forced hundreds of refugees sheltering inside to flee.

Israel says it does not target UN buildings or personnel but a senior military officer has said Israeli troops opened fire after militants shot anti-tank weapons and machine guns from inside.

Throughout its 20-day offensive in Gaza, Israel has accused Hamas militants of hiding in civilian areas to stage attacks.

But UN official John Ging, who was in the compound at the time, called the Israeli account ‘nonsense’.

And Chris Gunness of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) told Sky News hundreds of people were taking refuge inside the compound when it was hit by ‘three white phosphorus’ shells.

The chemical weapons cannot be put out by fire extinguishers and are banned from use in wars in civilian areas under the 1980 Geneva protocol.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said he was outraged by the Israeli strike.

‘I have conveyed my strong protest and outrage and demanded a full explanation from the defence minister and foreign minister,’ Mr Ban told reporters in Tel Aviv.

Mr Ban said Defence Minister Ehud Barak had assured him the incident had been ‘a grave mistake’ which was being taken ‘very seriously.’

‘He assured me that extra caution will be given to UN facilities and staff and that this will not be repeated,’ he said.

Mr Barak pointed the finger of blame at Hamas.

‘Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields and fires at IDF (Israeli Defence Forces) soldiers from sites adjacent to UN complexes,’ he was quoted as saying.

The headquarters of several media organisations have also reportedly been hit, injuring two cameramen.

The number of dead in Gaza has reached an ‘unbearable point’, he said, insisting elements are in place for the fighting to end ‘now’.

Mr Ban said he expected Israel to make an important decision on Thursday on whether to stop firing in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has said it will not agree to a truce which would allow Hamas to regroup and rearm. It is trying to stop Hamas firing rockets into Israel.

According to Gaza’s health ministry, more than 1,000 Palestinians -around half of them civilians- have been killed during the fighting.

Thirteen Israelis have also been killed -10 soldiers and three civilians hit by Hamas rocket fire.

P/S: 1,000 Palestinians to 13 Israelis. You do the calculation as to what is fair and who’s the real bully here. . .

Smoke is seen from an explosion after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009. Israeli troops battled Palestinian gunmen in a suburb of Gaza City on Sunday morning, waging one of their fiercest ground battles so far as Israel's military inched closer to Gaza's main population centers and residents braced for an expansion of the offensive. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Smoke is seen from an explosion after an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009. Israeli troops battled Palestinian gunmen in a suburb of Gaza City on Sunday morning, waging one of their fiercest ground battles so far as Israel's military inched closer to Gaza's main population centers and residents braced for an expansion of the offensive. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Israeli troops battled Palestinian gunmen in a suburb of Gaza City Sunday in one of the fiercest ground battles so far as Israel’s military inched toward Gaza’s population centers and residents braced for an expansion of the offensive.

The fighting in the Sheikh Ajleen neighborhood erupted before dawn and continued through the morning as Israeli infantrymen and tanks advanced toward Gaza City and its approximately 400,000 residents, Palestinian witnesses said to The Associated Press(AP) today. Hamas and the smaller militant group Islamic Jihad said they ambushed the Israelis, leading to some of the heaviest fighting since Israel sent ground forces into the coastal territory on Jan. 3.

Gunfire subsided in the early afternoon, with the Israelis in control of buildings on the neighborhood’s outskirts.

Israel launched its offensive against Hamas on Dec. 27 in an attempt to halt years of rocket fire from Gaza at Israeli towns. Gaza health officials have counted more than 820 Palestinians dead and say at least half are civilians. The Israeli military says troops have killed some 300 armed fighters since the ground offensive began and that many more were killed in the week of aerial bombardments that preceded it.

Thirteen Israelis have died, three of them civilians.

‘Israel is nearing the goals which it set itself, but more patience, determination and effort is still demanded,’ Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said ahead of his government’s weekly meeting Sunday.

The U.N. Security Council called for an immediate cease-fire Thursday, but Olmert said Israel ‘never agreed that anyone would decide for us if it is permissible to strike at those who send bombs against our kindergartens and schools.’

Hamas, the Islamic group whose government controls Gaza but is not recognized internationally, likewise has ignored the resolution, complaining that it was not consulted.

Israeli defense officials say they are prepared for a third stage of their offensive, in which ground troops would push further into Gaza, but are waiting for approval from the government. Israel dropped leaflets on Gaza on Saturday warning of a wider offensive.

The first phase was the massive aerial bombardment, and the second saw ground forces enter Gaza, seize open areas used to fire rockets and surround Gaza City. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because military plans have not been made public, said the army also has a contingency plan for a fourth phase -the full reoccupation of Gaza and toppling of Hamas.

At least 14 people were killed in Sunday’s fighting in and around Sheikh Ajleen, Palestinian health officials said. How many were militants and how many civilians was not immediately known. There was no word on Israeli casualties.

‘We are safe, but we don’t know for how long,’ said Khamis Alawi, 44, who huddled with his wife and six children in their kitchen overnight. He said bullets riddled his walls and several came in through the windows.

Hamas militants launched barrages of rockets at the Israeli city of Beersheba and at the town of Sderot. Hamas has been hard-hit by the Israeli offensive, but continued to fire rockets from Palestinian residential areas, paralyzing much of southern Israel.

Open areas in northern Gaza from which militants once launched many of their rockets are now in Israeli hands.

Israeli warplanes bombed targets along the Egypt-Gaza frontier near the town of Rafah early Sunday, shattering windows at the border terminal. The area is riddled by tunnels used to smuggle weapons and supplies into Gaza, and has been repeatedly bombed throughout the Israeli offensive.

At least 20 Palestinians had been killed across Gaza by midday Sunday, according to Gaza health officials. Most were noncombatants, they said, including four members of one family killed when a tank shell hit their home near Gaza City.

The military says Hamas fighters are wearing civilian clothes and endangering civilians by operating out of heavily populated residential areas.

Palestinian witnesses said Israeli forces fired phosphorus shells early Sunday at Khouza, a village near the border, setting a row of houses on fire. Hospital official Dr. Yusuf Abu Rish said a woman was killed and more than 100 injured, most suffering from gas inhalation and burns.

Israeli military spokesman Capt. Guy Spigelman denied the claims. One of the main uses of phosphorous shells is to create smoke and mask ground forces, which is legal under international law, but the chemical can be harmful if used in densely populated areas.

Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal made a fiery speech on Arab news channel Al-Jazeera, describing the Israeli assault as a ‘holocaust.’ Still, Hamas teams were in Cairo to discuss a cease-fire proposed by Egypt.

Israel wants a guarantee that any cease-fire would end Hamas rocket fire and weapons smuggling from Egypt. Hamas is demanding that Israel open Gaza’s blockaded border crossings. Israel is unlikely to agree to that condition because it would hand Hamas a victory and allow the group to strengthen its hold on the territory it violently seized in June 2007.

Struggling to keep peace efforts alive, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has urged Israel and Hamas to agree to a truce. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was set to hold talks with Israeli leaders Sunday in Egypt in an attempt to advance the Security Council’s cease-fire call.

‘Israel must be persuaded to let the firearms rest now,’ Steinmeier told reporters Sunday.

One of the deadliest single incidents since the offensive began was an Israeli strike near a U.N. school Tuesday that Gaza health officials said killed 39 Palestinians. On Sunday, Israeli defense officials said an investigation by the military concluded that an Israeli mortar shell missed its target and hit near the school.

The Israeli investigation concluded that troops fired three mortar shells at Hamas militants who had just launched a rocket, the officials said. Two shells hit the target, but a third missed by about 30 yards, striking near the school and killing bystanders. The Israeli military believes the number of casualties was inflated by Hamas.

The defense officials spoke Sunday on condition of anonymity because the investigation has not been made public, and there was no official comment from the military.

The U.N. agency in charge of Palestinian refugees has resumed its operations after suspending them because of Israeli attacks on its convoys. U.N. Relief and Works Agency spokesman Christopher Gunness said nine aid convoys were planned Sunday, but that the Israeli military had to ‘stand up and deliver’ on its promises to allow aid to reach Gaza civilians.

But the international Red Cross said Sunday it was halting its service of escorting Palestinian medical teams after one of its ambulances came under fire on Saturday during a three-hour lull declared by Israel to allow aid groups to do their work in besieged areas.

Red Cross spokesman Iyad Nasr said his organization is still investigating the source of the fire.

The Red Cross escorts are meant to provide extra protection to Palestinian ambulances and guarantee that all occupants are civilians. In the past Israel has charged that ambulances have been used to transport militants and arms.

P/S: A miss? how about that? are ALL the bombs and bullets that killed up to 800 palestinians now was a miss too? I just don’t believe it.

An Israeli left wing activist holds a sign during a protest against the Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009. Israeli forces pounded rocket-launching sites and smuggling tunnels in Gaza Saturday and planes dropped leaflets warning of an escalation in attacks, as Palestinian militants fired at least 15 more rockets at Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

An Israeli left wing activist holds a sign during a protest against the Israeli strikes on the Gaza Strip in Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday, Jan. 10, 2009. Israeli forces pounded rocket-launching sites and smuggling tunnels in Gaza Saturday and planes dropped leaflets warning of an escalation in attacks, as Palestinian militants fired at least 15 more rockets at Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israel dropped bombs and leaflets on Gaza on Saturday, pounding suspected rocket sites and tunnels used by Hamas militants and warning of a wider offensive despite frantic diplomacy to end the bloodshed.

According to The Associated Press(AP), Egypt hosted talks aimed at defusing the crisis, but war had the momentum on a bloody day on which more than 30 Palestinians, many of them noncombatants, were killed, according to Gaza medics. Hamas fighters launched 15 rockets at southern Israel, injuring three Israelis in the city of Ashkelon, the Israeli military said.

At hospitals, distraught relatives -men in jeans and jackets and women in black Islamic robes- sobbed and shrieked at the loss of family. Flames and smoke rose over Gaza City amid heavy fighting.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas predicted a ‘waterfall of blood’ unless all parties adhere to a United Nations call for a cease-fire. But Israel has said the Security Council resolution passed Thursday was unworkable and Hamas, the Islamic group whose government controls Gaza but is not recognized internationally, was angry that it was not consulted.

Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal made a fiery speech on Arab news channel Al-Jazeera, describing the Israeli assault as a ‘holocaust.’ Still, Hamas teams were in Cairo to discuss a cease-fire proposed by Egypt.

At least 814 Palestinians, roughly half of them civilians, have died since war broke out on Dec. 27, according to Palestinian medical officials. Thirteen Israelis, including 10 soldiers, have been killed.

Weary Palestinians watched from apartment windows as thousands of leaflets fluttered from aircraft with a blunt warning: Israeli forces will step up operations against Islamic militants who have unleashed a daily barrage of rocket fire on southern Israeli towns.

‘The IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) is not working against the people of Gaza but against Hamas and the terrorists only,’ the leaflets said in Arabic. “Stay safe by following our orders.’

The leaflets urged Gaza residents not to help Hamas and to stay away from its members. There was no immediate sign of an escalation, though earlier in the day, witnesses said Israeli troops moved to within one mile of Gaza City before pulling back slightly.

Israeli defense officials say they are prepared for a third stage of their offensive, in which ground troops would push further into Gaza, but are waiting for approval from the government. Early on Sunday, Israeli tanks were heard moving near the central Gaza border as Israeli artilley pounded the area, indicating the possibility of a larger operation.

Palestinian witnesses said Israeli forces fired phosphorus shells at Khouza, a village near the border, setting a row of houses on fire. Hospital official Dr. Yusuf Abu Rish said a woman was killed and more than 100 injured, most suffering from gas inhalation and burns. Israeli military spokesman Capt. Guy Spigelman categorically dened the claims.

The Israeli military said it did not know of such an incident. Also, Hamas security officials said fierce battles were in progress early Sunday in eastern Gaza City and northern Gaza.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified information, said the army also has a fourth stage planned that calls for a full reoccupation of Gaza and toppling of Hamas.

The leaflets reflected Israeli efforts to cast Hamas as the source of the conflict that has brought additional misery to Gaza’s 1.4 million people, who live in poverty in the densely inhabited shard of land along the Mediterranean. Israel hopes the suffering will erode support for Hamas, which won 2006 elections and engineered a violent takeover of Gaza in June 2007, overrunning the forces of its Palestinian rival Fatah.

For now, though, the fury of the Israeli onslaught has deepened bitterness toward Israel among trapped Gaza residents. Traffic through border crossings with Egypt and Israel is heavily restricted, and many Gazans survive on international handouts or goods smuggled through tunnels that are also used by Hamas to bring in weapons.

Israel launched the offensive on Dec. 27 after years of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, and has attributed many civilian casualties in the past two weeks to Hamas’s alleged use of civilian areas as hiding places and staging grounds for attacks.

On Jan. 3, Israeli ground troops moved into Gaza, but they have largely avoided deployment in built-up areas where they would be more vulnerable to hit-and-run assaults. Israel holds elections in one month, and its leaders know staunch support for the military campaign could dwindle if the forces take heavy casualties.

The 15 rockets launched at southern Israel are part of a daily ritual that has severely disrupted life for hundreds of thousands of civilians. Three Israelis were injured in the city of Ashkelon.

The Israeli military said aircraft attacked more than 40 Hamas targets including 10 rocket-launching sites, weapons-storage facilities, smuggling tunnels, an anti-aircraft missile launcher and gunmen. At least 15 militants were killed, it said.

In the day’s bloodiest incident, an Israeli tank shell killed nine people in a garden outside a home in the northern Gaza town of Jebaliya, said Adham el-Hakim, administrator of Kamal Adwan hospital. The nine were from the same clan and included two children and two women.

The Israeli military, however, said its forces did not carry out attacks in that area on Saturday.

Struggling to keep peace efforts alive, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Abbas urged Israel and Hamas to agree to a truce.

After meeting Mubarak, Abbas warned there was no time to waste in ending the bloodshed in Gaza.

‘If any party does not accept it (the truce), regrettably it will be the one bearing the responsibility. And if Israel doesn’t want to accept, it will take the responsibility of perpetuating a waterfall of blood,’ Abbas said.

Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party, which dominates the West Bank, are fierce political rivals.

Hamas officials from both Gaza and Syria are also in Cairo for separate talks with Egyptian officials on a truce. Israeli officials were in Cairo earlier this week.

U.S. President George W. Bush spoke by telephone to President Abdullah Gul of Turkey, which is involved in Mideast peace efforts, about the situation in Gaza, said a spokesman for the National Security Council in Washington.

‘President Bush emphasized the importance of bringing an end to rocket fire against Israel and preventing arms smuggling into Gaza as the basis for a durable cease-fire,’ spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on a peace mission to the region, visited the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt and saw a fireball from a large detonation in Gaza. He felt the pressure from the blast, which caused windows to rattle.

‘We are standing here while the fighting is still on back there,’ said Steinmeier, who later traveled to Israel. ‘It is right and correct to be concerned about the injured and the dead, but the European foreign ministers must do more so that words can be turned into deeds.’

The U.N. estimates two-thirds of Gaza’s 1.4 million people now lack electricity, and half don’t have running water.

The Israeli military announced a three-hour halt to operations in Gaza on Saturday to let medics use the lull to rescue casualties and aid groups to rush through food distribution. But for the second straight day, fighting continued even during the lull.

Israel has called for the three-hour breaks in fighting for the past four days. But aid groups say it isn’t enough time to do their work.

Also on Saturday, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in European cities and Lebanon, shouting protests against the Israeli offensive in Gaza.

P/S: Honestly saying, I think the israelis are being diagnose of some hearing problem of somewhat at the current moment when they’re clearly are turning deaf ears to the world shouting at them for cease-fire and peace.

Israeli missiles launched into Gaza Strip aimed at the death and destruction of the Palestinian people. Nearly 500 people have been massacred in the latest fighting.

Israeli missiles launched into Gaza Strip aimed at the death and destruction of the Palestinian people.

Reuters reported that Israel rejected a U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire in Gaza on Friday and, as jets and tanks again pounded the Palestinian enclave, ministers debated whether to step up their two-week-old campaign against Hamas guerrillas.

With the civilian death toll in the hundreds and rising amid outraged denunciations of Israel from the Red Cross, United Nations agencies and Arab and European governments, diplomats also sounded an alarm that Egyptian-brokered truce talks launched this week might also be foundering.

Israel’s air force said it hit over 50 targets. Palestinian medics counted at least 18 dead, including civilians.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected the Security Council resolution calling for an “‘immediate and durable’ cease-fire as ‘unworkable.’ He issued his statement while a meeting with his security cabinet continued, looking at whether to send in reservists for a push into the main urban centres.

Israeli warplanes dropped bombs on the outskirts of the city of Gaza, residents said. Elsewhere, Palestinian medics said tanks shelled a house in Beit Lahiya in the north of the Gaza Strip, killing six Palestinians from the same family.

A U.N. agency said in a report that 30 Palestinians were killed earlier this week when the Israeli army sheltered dozens of civilians in a house which was later hit by shells.

Noting Palestinians fired more rockets at Israel on Friday, Olmert said the army would go on with its mission.

‘The firing of rockets this morning only goes to show that the U.N. decision is unworkable and will not be adhered to by the murderous Palestinian organisations,’ he said.

‘The IDF will continue to act in order to protect the citizens of Israel and will achieve the goals that were set for the operation.’

Israel says it wants to stop rockets landing on its towns. At least 14 were fired on Friday, fewer than the dozens Hamas was able to launch in the early days of the war. Hamas officials said they were looking at the U.N. resolution.

Israel’s key ally the United States abstained in the U.N. vote, easing the pressure on the Jewish state, while noting talks on a truce were still under way under Egyptian mediation.

TALKS IN TROUBLE

That Egyptian initiative, brokered by French President Nicolas Sarkozy earlier in the week, may be in trouble, however.

‘The truce talks are going nowhere at the moment,’ a senior European diplomat told Reuters. ‘There is a growing sense that the Egyptian-French plan is not going to work.’

European and Israeli diplomats told Reuters that Egypt was objecting to proposals that foreign troops and technicians be stationed on its 15-km border with the Gaza Strip as part of a deal to meet Israeli demands that Hamas be denied the opportunity to rearm after a truce through smuggling tunnels.

Instead, diplomats said, Egypt was ready to accept technical assistance for its own forces on the border, which Israel argues have hitherto failed to prevent Hamas building up an arsenal of hundreds of smuggled, Soviet-designed Katyusha missiles as well as, possibly, sophisticated anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons.

Olmert’s security cabinet on Wednesday put off a decision on whether to launch a massive escalation of the offensive on Hamas guerrillas by moving troops in a third phase deep into urban areas, a move that would mean calling in reservists. Officials said ministers were discussing the proposal again on Friday.

The onslaught in Gaza, where many civilians including children have been killed, has solid support among Israeli voters who go to the polls in a month. A poll on Friday showed over 90 percent support among Israel’s Jewish majority.

A poll showed that Defence Minister Ehud Barak’s Labour party has held on to sharp gains it has made since war began, though it still trails Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s Kadima, which is running close behind the right-wing Likud opposition. Benjamin Netanyahu, Likud’s leader, has also thrown strong support behind the war.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, governed by Hamas’s rival Fatah movement under President Mahmoud Abbas, have been enraged by the Israeli offensive, and Israeli forces and Abbas’s police were on high alert on Friday, although there were only minor clashes around weekly prayers at mosques.

Several thousand people demonstrated and burnt Israeli flags in Hebron, a Hamas stronghold in the West Bank.

CASUALTIES

The Israeli air force hit at least 50 targets across the enclave, including launching pads for rockets and facilities used to manufacture rockets, an army spokesman said.

Israel’s military commanders appeared keen to pursue what was termed a third stage of the operation with additional ground troops being sent into the heart of Gaza’s built-up areas to flush out more gunmen and to try to secure more gains.

The Israeli army said it was, for the third day running, holding fire for three hours from 1 p.m. to let people stock up on food and other supplies.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers sent mixed signals about the resolution. Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha said the group did not recognise the resolution as it had not been consulted. Another spokesman said Hamas was ‘studying’ the resolution.

The resolution called for arrangements to prevent arms smuggling into Gaza and for its borders to be opened. It said there should be ‘unimpeded provision’ and distribution of aid to the territory, home to 1.5 million people.

The U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which distributes much of the aid in Gaza, kept its operations suspended on Friday after the death of one of its drivers in Israel’s offensive.

Hamas officials said the Palestinian death toll had risen to 783. Ten soldiers have been killed in the campaign launched by Israel to crush Hamas forces and halt the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. Israel says it is doing what it can to avoid civilian casualties but accuses Hamas of deliberately placing its fighters close to homes and mosques.

Rockets have killed three Israeli civilians since the offensive began. Israel has said it accepts the ‘principles’ of the cease-fire proposal by Egypt and the European Union, and Washington has urged the Jewish state to study the details.

Approximately 100 Palestinians were bombed after alleged Israelis soldiers evacuated them to a house

Approximately 100 Palestinians were bombed after alleged Israelis soldiers evacuated them to a house

Around 30 people are reported to have been killed in the incident which happened in Zeitoun, south of Gaza city, where Red Cross workers later found four small children next to the corpses of their mothers.

The UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) cited reports of ‘extensive destruction and many deaths’ in the area.

As reported by the ITN, it said: ‘According to several testimonies, on January 4 Israeli foot soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single residence house in Zeitoun (half of whom were children) warning them to stay indoors’.

‘Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately 30.’

The OCHA described it as ‘one of the gravest incidents’ since the start of the Gaza conflict on December 27.

UN Under-Secretary-General for humanitarian affairs John Holmes on Wednesday cited the deaths in Zeitoun as an example of the ‘dreadful incidents that are coming to our notice’ in Gaza.

On Thursday, the International Committee of the Red Cross(ICRC) accused the Israeli military of ‘unacceptable’ delays in allowing rescue workers to reach homes in Zeitoun hit by shelling.

In a strongly-worded statement it said: ‘The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded.’

Meanwhile, the United Nations has demanded an immediate ceasefire in the region. The US abstained from the Security Council vote but says it backs the text of the resolution which also calls for a full withdrawal by Israel.

The vote followed days of intense haggling with foreign ministers from Arab nations pressing France, Britain and the US to go along with a resolution rather than a more diluted president’s statement.

It came as the Israeli airstrikes and artillery assaults continued. In one of the latest attacks, six Palestinians from the same family were killed when their house was shelled.

The fighting has now killed more than 750 Palestinians and at least 14 Israelis.

Israeli Army soldiers take cover as a mobile artillery piece fires towards targets in the southern Gaza Strip, on the Israel side of the border with Gaza Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009.

Israeli Army soldiers take cover as a mobile artillery piece fires towards targets in the southern Gaza Strip, on the Israel side of the border with Gaza Tuesday, Jan 6, 2009.

More update on the Israel missile raids from The Associated Press (AP) that Israeli forces edged closer to Gaza’s major population centers on Tuesday and attacked new sites, including a U.N. school, taking more civilian lives after ignoring mounting international calls for an immediate cease-fire. A Palestinian rocket attack wounded an Israeli infant.

The United Nations said three civilians were killed in the airstrike on its school, where hundreds of people from a Gaza City refugee camp had gone to seek shelter from Israel’s blistering 11-day offensive against the Hamas militant group.

The missile landed in a courtyard late Monday, causing minor damage to the building.

U.N. officials say they provided their location coordinates to Israel’s army to ensure that their buildings in Gaza are not targeted. The Israeli army had no comment on the latest strikes, but in the past has accused militants of using schools, mosques and residential neighborhoods to store weapons or launch attacks.

Israel launched its offensive on Dec. 27 to halt repeated Palestinian rocket attacks on its southern towns. After a weeklong air campaign, Israeli ground forces invaded Gaza over the weekend. More than 500 Palestinians have been killed, including more than 100 civilians, according to United Nations figures. Nine Israelis have died since the operation began.

In other fighting early Tuesday, at least 18 Palestinians were killed in shelling from tanks and naval craft, local hospital officials said. Only two of the dead were confirmed as militants.

Tanks rumbled closer to the towns of Khan Younis and Dir el Balah in south and central Gaza but were still several kilometers (miles) outside, witnesses said, adding that the sounds of fighting could be heard from around the new Israeli positions. Israel already has encircled Gaza City, the area’s biggest city.

The rising civilian death toll has drawn international condemnations and raised concerns of a looming humanitarian disaster. Many Gazans are without electricity or running water, thousands have been displaced from their homes and residents say that without distribution disrupted, food supplies are running thin.

Israel says it won’t stop the assault until its southern towns are freed of the threat of Palestinian rocket fire and it receives international guarantees that Hamas, a militant group backed by Iran and Syria, will not restock its weapons stockpile. It blames Hamas for the civilian casualties, saying the group intentionally seeks cover in crowded residential areas.

‘The battle is bitter but unavoidable. We set out on this operation in order to deal Hamas a heavy blow and to alter living conditions in the south of the country and to block smuggling into the Gaza Strip,’ Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The army says it has dealt a harsh blow to Hamas, killing 130 militants in the past two days and greatly reducing the rocket fire. At least 15 rockets were fired Tuesday and one landed in the town of Gadera, about 25 miles (40 kilometers) from the Gaza border, lightly wounding a 3-month-old infant, police said. At the outset of the fighting, militants launched dozens of rockets each day.

Hamas is believed to have 20,000 fighters.
Israeli forces have cut the main Gaza highway in several places, cutting the strip into northern, southern and central sectors and preventing movement between them. Israel also has taken over high-rise buildings in Gaza City and destroyed dozens of smuggling tunnels —Hamas’ main lifeline— along the Egyptian border.

Late Monday, a paratroop officer and three Israeli infantrymen were killed in two separate friendly fire incidents, the military said. Heavy Israeli casualties could threaten to undermine what so far has been wide public support for the operation.

A high-level European Union delegation met with President Shimon Peres on Tuesday in a futile bid to put an end to the violence. Commissioner Benita Ferraro-Waldner acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defense, but said its response was disproportionate.

‘We have come to Israel in order to advance the initiative for a humanitarian cease-fire and I will tell you, Mr. President, that you have a serious problem with international advocacy, and that Israel’s image is being destroyed,’ she said, according to a statement from Peres’ office.

In Geneva, the international Red Cross said Gaza was in a ‘full-blown’ humanitarian crisis. Its head of operations, Pierre Kraehenbuehl, said the few remaining power supplies could collapse at any moment.

Israeli leaders say there is no humanitarian crisis and that they have allowed the delivery of vital supplies.
The EU delegation was one of a flurry of diplomatic efforts to forge a cease-fire. French President Nicolas Sarkozy left Israel after a day of meetings with leaders.

Europe ‘wants a cease-fire as quickly as possible,’ Sarkozy said Monday, urging Israel to halt the offensive, while blaming Hamas for acting ‘irresponsibly and unpardonably.’

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stressed to Sarkozy that any agreement ‘must contain at its foundation the total cessation of all arms transfers to Hamas,’ said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev.

Regev noted that Hamas used a previous six-month truce to double the range of its rockets. About one-eighth of Israel’s 7 million citizens now live in rocket range.

In New York, Arab delegates met with the U.N. Security Council, urging members to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate end to the attacks and a permanent cease-fire.

In Washington, the State Department said the U.S. was pressing for a cease-fire that would include a halt to rocket attacks and an arrangement for reopening crossings on the border with Israel, said spokesman Sean McCormack.

The crossings, used to deliver vital food shipments into Gaza, have been largely closed since Hamas took control of Gaza in June 2007. A third element of a U.S.-backed cease-fire would address the smuggling tunnels used by Hamas.

U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said the overall Palestinian toll since the opening of the Gaza campaign on Dec. 27 stood at about 500, with about 125 of them civilians.

Israeli forces detained 80 Palestinians -some of them suspected Hamas members- and transferred several to Israel for interrogation, said military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to release the information.

Israel’s operation has angered many across the Arab world and has drawn criticism from countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, which have ties with Israel and have been intimately involved in Mideast peacemaking.

P/S: Even my class discussing this topic like mad. At one side they concur of what the Israelis are doing, that’s just protecting their ‘territory’ and the other just despises Israelis and said they don’t even deserve the title ‘country’ as they only taking over someone else’s land to make their own by force.

Hurmm. . . and how about you?

Israeli missiles launched into Gaza Strip aimed at the death and destruction of the Palestinian people. Nearly 500 people have been massacred in the latest fighting.

Israeli missiles launched into Gaza Strip aimed at the death and destruction of the Palestinian people. Nearly 500 people have been massacred in the latest fighting.

Israel ignored mounting international calls for a cease-fire and said it won’t stop its crippling 10-day assault until “peace and tranquility” are achieved in southern Israeli towns in the line of Palestinian rocket fire.

Israeli forces seized control of high-rise buildings Monday and attacked smuggling tunnels and several mosques in a relentless campaign against Hamas militants that took an increasing toll on civilians.

As reported by The Associated Press(AP), The United Nations said at least 500 people have died in the Gaza fighting, about a quarter of them civilians.

In fighting that raged early Tuesday morning, at least 18 people were killed in shelling up and down the strip, local hospital officials said. Only two could be immediately confirmed as militants.

Israel also suffered casualties. Late Monday, three Israeli soldiers were killed by what Israeli officials said was an errant tank round from one of its own guns.
Shortly after sunrise Tuesday, three rockets fired from Gaza fell in southern Israel, but there were no reported casualties.

Arab delegates met with the U.N. Security Council in New York, urging members to adopt a resolution calling for an immediate end to the attacks and a permanent cease-fire.

At the same time, diplomats and European leaders traveled the region in an effort to stop Israel’s expanding ground and air offensive.

In a serious urban clash, Israeli troops and Hamas militants fought a gunbattle on the outskirts of the crowded Gaza City neighborhood of Shajaiyeh, Israeli defense officials said.

Details also emerged of an unsuccessful attempt by Hamas fighters to capture Israeli soldiers hours after the ground operation began Saturday with a withering round of artillery fire.

Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu told Israeli TV the assault was going according to plan with forces sweeping through Palestinian rocket launching locations near the border.

Despite Israeli claims that casualties have been heavy among militants, no injured Hamas fighters were seen Monday by an Associated Press reporter at Shifa Hospital, the Gaza Strip’s largest. Instead, the hospital was overwhelmed with civilians. Bodies were two to a morgue drawer, and the wounded were being treated in hallways because beds were full.

At least 20 Palestinian children were killed during the day Monday, said Dr. Moaiya Hassanain, a health official. Most confirmed deaths have been civilians.

Three brothers died in an attack on a town outside Gaza City, a Gaza health official said. They were carried to a cemetery in an emotional funeral. One of them, Issa Samouni, 3, was wrapped in a white cloth, showing only his pale, yellow face. A man delicately placed him in a dark grave cut into the earth.

Overnight, six civilians were killed when a shell fired by an Israeli ship hit their house on the Gaza shore, hospital officials said. Local residents said the gunboat apparently fired at a group of Islamic Jihad militants next to the house who were preparing to ambush advancing Israeli troops. Two of the militants were killed in the blast.

Palestinians said Israeli attacks intensified before dawn Tuesday and at least 10 more civilians were killed when shells hit houses on the edge of Gaza City and in the Jebaliya refugee camp, north of the city.

Later, five civilians were killed when a shell fired by an Israeli ship hit their house on the Gaza shore, hospital officials said. Palestinians said Israeli attacks intensified before dawn Tuesday.

Gaza health officials reported that since the campaign began on Dec. 27 more than 550 Palestinians have been killed and 2,500 wounded, including 200 civilians. U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes put the Palestinian toll at 500, with about 125 of them civilians.

Holmes called the Gaza strife an ‘increasingly alarming’ humanitarian crisis, directly contradicting Israeli denials that its offensive caused the growing problem. He said Gaza is running low on clean water, power, food, medicine and other supplies since Israel began its offensive.

Israeli leaders have maintained there is no humanitarian crisis, and that they have been delivering vital supplies.

Late Monday, the Israeli military said three soldiers were killed and 24 others wounded by friendly fire when a tank shell hit their position outside Gaza City. The military said a colonel who commanded an infantry brigade was among the injured.

Israeli defense officials said earlier that one soldier was killed when soldiers fought off an attempt by Hamas fighters to capture Israeli soldiers hours after the ground operation began.

They said the infantrymen were advancing up a strategic hill before dawn Sunday when militants emerged from a tunnel and tried to drag two Israeli infantrymen inside.

Hamas already holds one Israeli soldier, captured in June 2006, and another would be an important bargaining chip.

That death and the three soldiers killed by friendly fire brought to eight the number of Israelis killed since the offensive began. One other soldier and three civilians were killed during the initial air phase of the offensive.

Israeli officials are concerned that heavy casualties amoung its troops could undermine what has so far been overwhelming public support for the operation.

In Shajaiyeh, troops seized control of three six-story buildings on the outskirts, climbing to rooftop gun and observation positions, Israeli defense officials said. Residents were locked in their rooms and soldiers took away their cell phones, a neighbor said, quoting a relative who called before his phone was seized.

‘The army is there, firing in all directions,’ said Mohammed Salmai, a 29-year-old truck driver. ‘All we can do is take clothes to each other to keep ourselves warm and pray to God that if we die, someone will find our bodies under the rubble.’

Fighter jets attacked houses, weapons storage sites, a pair of mosques and smuggling tunnels, as they have since the start of the offensive. Israel has attacked several mosques during the campaign, saying they were used to store weapons.

In another strategic move, Israeli forces seized a main highway in Gaza, slicing the territory in two.

Israeli forces detained 80 Palestinians -some of them suspected Hamas members- and transferred several to Israel for questioning, said military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to release the information.

The Gaza City area was rocked by shelling from both sides as gunboats in the sea and artillery and tanks closing in from the east unloaded thunderous fire.

After dark, the shelling reached deeper into residential areas. Fireballs lit up the horizon to the east, setting off blazes on the ground and silhouetting Gaza’s tall buildings. Tracer fire ripped across the skyline.

The State Department said the U.S. was pressing for a cease-fire that would include a halt to rocket attacks and an arrangement for reopening crossing points on the border with Israel, said spokesman Sean McCormack. A third element would address the tunnels into Gaza from Egypt through which Hamas has smuggled materials and arms.

President George W. Bush emphasized ‘Israel’s desire to protect itself.’

‘The situation now taking place in Gaza was caused by Hamas,’ he said.

The deputy head of Hamas’ politburo in Syria, Moussa Abu Marzouk, rejected the U.S. proposal, telling the AP the U.S. plan seeks to impose ‘a de facto situation’ and encourages Israel to continue its attacks on Gaza.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who unsuccessfully proposed a two-day truce last week, met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who lost control of Gaza to Hamas in June 2007.

Europe ‘wants a cease-fire as quickly as possible,’ Sarkozy said after meeting Abbas, urging Israel to halt the offensive, while blaming Hamas for acting ‘irresponsibly and unpardonably.’

A European Union delegation met with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

‘The EU insists on a cease-fire at the earliest possible moment,’ said Karel Schwarzenberg, the foreign minister of the Czech Republic, which took over the EU’s presidency last week from France. Rocket attacks on Israel also must stop, Schwarzenberg told a news conference with Livni.

The EU brought no truce proposals of its own because the cease-fire ‘must be concluded by the involved parties,’ he added.

As the bruising campaign entered its 10th day Monday, Hamas pummeled southern Israel with more than 30 rockets and promised to wait for Israeli soldiers ‘in every street and every alleyway.’

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the offensive would go on until Israel achieved ‘peace and tranquility’ for residents of southern Israel.

One of the rockets struck a large outdoor market that was closed at the time in the town of Sderot, just across Gaza’s northeastern border. Another hit a kindergarten in the coastal city of Ashdod, north of the strip. The kindergarten, like schools across southern Israel, was closed and empty because of the rocket threat.

Israel has three main demands: an end to Palestinian attacks, international supervision of any truce, and a halt to Hamas rearming. Hamas demands an end to Israeli attacks and the opening of border crossings to vital cargo.

Livni said the operation was designed to change the rules of Israel’s struggle against Hamas after years of firing rockets at Israel. From now on, she said, ‘when Israel is targeted, Israel is going to retaliate.’

Israeli military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich said Hamas was to blame for civilian casualties because it operates in densely populated areas.

‘If Hamas chose cynically to use those civilians as human shields, then Hamas should be accountable,’ she said.

Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar exhorted Palestinians to fight the Israeli forces and target Israeli civilians and Jews abroad.

‘The Zionists have legitimized the killing of their children by killing our children. They have legitimized the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people,’ Zahar said in a grainy video broadcast on Hamas TV.

Israel’s operation has sparked anger across the Arab world and has drawn criticism from countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, which have ties with Israel and have been intimately involved in Mideast peacemaking.

In Beirut, Lebanon, protesters tried to pull away barbed wire blocking their path to the U.S. Embassy. They were driven back with heavy blasts of water.

Malaysia's Protest Today, Malaysia has called on the United Nations to convene an emergency session on the Israeli military offensive in Gaza, saying it had a ‘moral duty’ to end the violence as reported on the AP.

‘I note that the UN Security Council continues to fail to act on this critical matter,’ Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said in a statement.

‘I therefore urge that an emergency special session of the UN General Assembly be convened to adopt a ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution.’

While the Security Council includes the five permanent members and 10 elected nations, the General Assembly represents all member states.

‘The United Nations Security Council has a moral duty to stop the atrocities committed by Israel and demand a ceasefire by all sides,’ he added.

Abdullah said Malaysia’s representative to the UN would raise the issue with the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) of developing nations and the 57-member Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

The premier of majority-Muslim Malaysia accused the United States of failing its responsibilities as a superpower by failing to take action.

‘The United States has the capacity to and can stop the atrocities but they have chosen other options,’ Abdullah said according to state media.

‘I hope the United States and its allies will not impede efforts to convene the special general assembly.’

Abdullah condemned Washington for blocking a UN resolution calling for an end to the Israeli offensive, and said it should have used its influence to bring about a ceasefire.

‘This move is something which the world community cannot have respect for,’ he said according to the official Bernama news agency.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said he regretted the Security Council’s failure to reach an accord on Israeli’s military assault on the Gaza Strip and appealed for unity to end the nine-day crisis.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Arab foreign ministers were to convene at UN headquaters in New York on Monday to appeal for international pressure to end the hostilities that have killed some 500 Palestinians.

P/S: Come on, lets get this over with and get a move on with everybody’s freakin peace life already! If they don’t want YOU in their space -which clearly they don’t- STOP with the barging and bombing already!