Bush: U.S. Calls for Monitored Cease-fire Pact

International pressure for a cease-fire is growing, but the United States is still giving Israel room to maneuver.

In remarks prepared for his weekly radio address, President Bush said that the United States will support a cease-fire only if monitors are sent to stop weapons from being smuggled into Gaza.

"The United States is leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful cease-fire that is fully respected," Bush said in his first public statements on the conflict. "Another one-way cease-fire that leads to rocket attacks on Israel is not acceptable. And promises from Hamas will not suffice. There must be monitoring mechanisms in place to help ensure that smuggling of weapons to terrorist groups in Gaza comes to an end."

While the current administration is actively working to resolve the crisis, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice kept the responsibility for a cease-fire on Hamas, saying the group "has held the people of Gaza hostage."

"It is obvious that the cease-fire should take place as soon as possible, but we need a cease-fire that is durable and sustainable," Rice said.

Since the fighting began a week ago, at least 430 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed.

As Israel continues to build forces for a possible invasion of the Gaza Strip, Hamas' exiled leader said that the group was prepared to resist.

In a televised address from Damascus, Syria, Khaled Meshaal threatened to kidnap Israeli soldiers if there is a ground invasion.

"If you commit a foolish act by raiding Gaza, who knows, we may have a second or a third or a fourth Shalit," Meshaal said, apparently referring to kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, whom Hamas has held for more than two years.

Meanwhile, a fresh barrage of Israeli missiles crashed into Gaza today aimed at the homes of key Hamas operatives, but among the victims were four Palestinian children.

Israel broadened its list of targets on the seventh day of its Gaza offensive. One day after it killed well known Hamas leader Nizar Rayyan and his family, including 11 children, it blasted the homes of more than a dozen Hamas officials.

Israeli officials said many of the targeted homes received warning calls shortly before they were bombed, a practice the Israelis called "roof knocking." But in the rubble of one bombing in the town of Khan Younes were the bodies of three young children, according to medical sources in Gaza. They said a fourth child died during an attack in Gaza City.

The grim collateral damage of the Israeli air war included two other children who also died today of wounds suffered earlier in the week, the sources said.

The most prominent Hamas leader targeted in today's raids was Imad Aqel, one of the group's top military commanders. A house thought to be his was destroyed, but there was no word on Aqel's whereabouts. Many of Hamas' leaders went into hiding when the Israeli attacks began last Saturday.

While Israeli missiles missed Aqel, they killed two young brothers, who live on the same street. Other wounded children were rushed to the hospital. At least 50 children have been killed since the attacks began.

Israeli missiles also struck a mosque in Jabaliya, the seventh mosque bombed since Saturday.

Page
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...