Israel Begins Ground Offensive in Gaza

Western reporters evacuated from Gaza hotels as Israel expands Operation Protective Edge
10:31 | 07/17/14

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Transcript for Israel Begins Ground Offensive in Gaza
Israel is escalating the conflict with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The idea saying late this afternoon about ninety minutes before midnight in the Middle East that it will begin the so called ground -- Of its operation -- -- on the shelf president -- breaking news right now darkness falls on Gaza. You are looking now live on the region right now where Israel has begun its incursion into the Hamas held territory. We're joined now from Tel -- -- -- by ABC news international affairs correspondent payments McDonald. Payments get us up to date what can you tell us about this ground offensive. What is quite a few headlines to update you on that right now what I can tell you is that the Israeli Cabinet has who authorized. The grounds -- -- All of this operation protected -- in Gaza that means that the Gaza Strip is being bombarded. By air sea and land as of now the residents of Gaza have been seeing the evidence of this buildup in the last few hours they've been. Flares -- above the Gaza Strip they have been electricity. Costs halts. Particularly in the north of the strip. As well as that there's been heavy bombardment on going. For almost a lost to -- now this is a significant employment we haven't heard yet to any reports of tanks rolling in. That we believe that tanks have been shelling the edges of the Gaza Strip from -- boarding area but we've been seeing them in position. For the last week or so. Now the Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been under growing pressure at -- the domestic political dynamic -- one in which he is facing. Immense pressure to do more to end the rockets that have been continuing to fly out of Gaza even tonight. -- -- the ramp up to this operation we have seen rockets flying out of Gaza just over and powerless -- here in Tel Aviv's Tel Aviv. There was a series of rockets that arrived that were intercepted by the -- -- at the sirens were ringing out there were evacuations here so why. It's a critical -- and a significant moment. And you know -- this operation comes at nighttime is this a surprise at all or something that was to be expected. I think the fact that it's at -- he's not particularly surprising this wouldn't. Being -- -- with previous operations. Think if you points tonight that -- significant. In the previous spate of violence that erupted in 2012. We sort this increase in violence in the hours immediately before a cease fire. Was cold now we know that today. Talks were ongoing. The Hamas political leaders were engaged Egypt had a role. Possibly also accounts the gulf states. And the Israeli certainly involved pressure coming internationally clearly. From the United States and from the UN we had a period of five hours and -- humanitarian cease fire was -- to allow supplies into the Gaza Strip. There was some issues we've got but largely he held. But then at 3 PM local time when it formally finished the rockets began firing immediately since then it has really wrapped up to this point. What we don't know there is whether or not those talks have progressed any further whether this means all of those talks. Are all. Well that's what I was going to ask you do we know any details about those talks that would escalate so what we're seeing now. But -- we could say those talks would lead to the escalation but certainly the continuing rocket fire out of Gaza and the fact that it began. Immediately off to that temporary cease fire ended at 3 PM -- agitated the Israeli government. Clearly weeding out process of arranging a cease fire beneath the confidence building measures and it may be that that ten -- ceasefire that was one of them. Dick confidence building measures happen when you have two sides that don't trust each other in any way and that -- -- to commit to something that they can showed. The -- acting in good site. So it may be met that was an example of that the -- obviously being then that it held longer. In the planned at 3 PM -- I think the difficulty is here in Israel Benjamin Netanyahu leads a coalition government there are some hot line is within his government. Conservatives who want to see a much tougher approach he -- his deputy foreign minister the other day because he was so openly and publicly. Critical all of his stops. In relation to these Gaza operation and -- in this key members of his government senior ministers who said that this operation should not and until -- in full control of the Gaza Strip that -- in itself presents enormous challenges for Israel. -- do we know if anyone in the Israeli government gave any warning to it any other nation before women including the US. Certainly not publicly -- may be back channel information possibility Israel has been. Pretty strident in its comments this week saying that it will not bow to international pressure that is number one priority is to return com. And quiet. To these country. But the images you're seeing out of Gaza tonight the skyline -- probably the brightness that you see is the -- is in the sky. But as well as that on occasion you'll see. In the solves -- -- in from the -- also coming in from the C. And as well as that now from Latin. The real issue now for Israel in terms of conducting. A ground operation is there risk associated with that. There has been instances in the cost. -- Israeli soldiers have been taking captive on the ground. And the fee would be that if they send a large number of troops into Gaza. That they might be easy pickings for the militants that operate there. So that will be foremost among their concerns. If and -- -- -- Physically put the boots on the ground -- -- -- but clearly tonight they will be many people in Gaza and indeed. Our colleagues who have bad have just been told to evacuate their hotel Alex mark caught the ABC correspondent. In Gaza. Just being. Is looking at his tweet saying that -- any other journalists of being. Moved out of the hotel which they have always thought to be safe. From bombardments and now being told that they have thirty minutes to evacuate. There are very few safe places to be in Gaza tonight. And payments that sets the scene in Gaza give us an idea of Tel -- -- and surrounding area. Are you hearing sirens going off there is there any indication that Hamas. Is striking back in anyway. Not -- -- this -- but certainly within the last hour -- southern there was sirens there were evacuations. That word Hamas rockets flying overhead that were intercepted by the -- and done. I think there's a degree all of them. Let the G about the reaction to rockets now -- nine doing system has proved to be so effective. In the last week's. Essentially there has been very little loss of life. In Israel as a result of its effectiveness. We see it most days in action in the skies above us when the rockets coming from it from Gaza nine diamond street south in -- at night time and need to sets pretty effectively. And has the Israeli government articulated what the goal of this next phase is how are they defining. Success here. There's a very see clearly stated goal and often repeated goal. That the Israeli government has in terms of this operation and that is to return com. -- and quiet to Israel they want the rockets to stall its pretty straightforward. But I think the have -- articulated. The change in that ambition. As a result of this moving into a ground operation. -- Clearly there will be questions about whether they want more than that -- Political figures key political figures in his -- who would like to see all of the Gaza Strip. Controlled by Israel. There's certainly no consensus on not. We know that Egypt had put forward a cease fire plan a few days ago involved -- possibly these talks. -- is anyone commenting about their role and quite in this latest battle have -- weighed in on this latest decision of the operation. I'm waiting. But certainly in Egypt is crucial in the -- Egypt has been. Fundamentals of our current cease fires between Hamas. And Israel. But the political dynamic has changed vastly. In Egypt's in recent years certainly since 2012 the last time there was this similar conflict between Israel and Hamas. We now have a president in Egypt LCC who was the leader of the military he seized control from the Muslim Brotherhood. Designated the brother brotherhood -- terrorist organization. And is now and how as. Essentially a democratically elected president. But he has no word patience with the brotherhood -- -- Hamas there -- historic and current links between the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. And so he's shown little willingness to give much mercy to -- what we've seen -- as a result of the previous failed cease -- a few days ago. Is that we may now find ourselves in a position -- Egypt doesn't have the same leverage. Or -- Hamas that it has in the past and that's a problem. For the international community in trying to work together to forge a cease fire it may be that Turkey could play a role. Or fat cats the gulf states which also has fairly close ties with -- ABC news international correspondent payments McDonald in Tel Aviv -- -- up to date on breaking news out of Israel and Gaza thanks for joining us. You can keep up with all the latest from Israel and Gaza in real time by downloading the ABC news -- -- starring that story for exclusive updates on the -- For now I'm Michelle -- in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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