BEIJING,JAN. 8 -- Israelis are bracing for new rocket attacks, after
fighting resumed in the Gaza Strip following a three-hour pause for humanitarian
aid deliveries on Wednesday.
International diplomatic efforts are also continuing to work out details of
a possible ceasefire.
Israel announced a pause in its offensive to allow food and fuel to reach
besieged Palestinians. Hamas said it would respect the firing pause from 1 pm to
4 pm local time.
Smoke rises following an Israeli
airstrike in Gaza City, Jan. 8, 2009. Over 600 Palestinians have been
killed and more than 2,700 others wounded in Gaza since the so-called
Operation Cast Lead began on Dec. 27.(Xinhua/Wissam Nassar)
Shortly after the period ended, Israel resumed pounding targets in Gaza and
Hamas resumed rocket fire towards Israel.
Two Hamas rockets landed in a southern Israeli town after the lull in
fighting, causing no reported injuries.
Meanwhile, international diplomatic efforts continued on Wednesday. French
President Nicolas Sarkozy said Israel and the Palestinian National Authority
have accepted an Egyptian-French plan to end the violence in Gaza.
Sarkozy did not give details of the plan, but an Israeli spokesman
indicated that the plan appeared to go beyond what Israel was willing to commit
Mark Regev, Israeli Government Spokesman, said, "Israel welcomes the
initiative of the French president and the Egyptian president to bring about a
sustainable quiet in the south of Israel. That quiet has to be based of course
on two fundamental principles. First of all there has to be a total and complete
cessation of all hostile fire from Gaza into Israel. And secondly we have to see
an arms embargo on Hamas that will be, will get, will receive, international
A Hamas delegate attended Tuesday's talks with Egypt's intelligence chief.
The delegate said Hamas representatives will go back to Syria to discuss
A Hamas legislator warned that the group will not accept a proposal that
continues subjecting Palestinians to fighting.
Mushir Al-Masri, Hamas Legislator, said, "There will be no success to any
initiative as long as it would not secure the immediate end of the aggression
against our people, lifting the closure and opening of the crossing, first of
all the Rafah crossing. Speaking on the issue of the ceasefire alone is a crime,
which compares the victim to the aggressor."
But while diplomats work out the details of a ceasefire, the number of
casualties in Gaza keeps growing. Palestinian officials on Wednesday put the
number of dead so far at 688.
The Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights says 130 of those killed
are children aged 16 and under.