Israel rejects France's 'aid truce' proposal

Israel rejected a French proposal for a 48-hour truce that would allow a humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip that nearly 400 Palestinians have been killed so far.

Israel rejects France's 'aid truce' proposal
"(The French) proposal contained no guarantees of any kind that Hamas will stop the rockets and smuggling," Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said on the fifth day of air strikes.

Israeli aircraft carried out two strikes in the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday, an Israeli military spokesman said.

Palestinian medical officials said one person, a paramedic, was killed.

Israel also has amassed armoured forces on its border with the Gaza Strip in preparation for a possible ground offensive. But rain over the past few days and fresh showers on Wednesday could delay any push soon by tanks into the territory.

Medical officials put Palestinian casualties at 385 dead and more than 1000 wounded since the Israeli offensive began on Saturday. Four Israelis have been killed.

Hamas has said the responsibility was on Israel to stop the assaults while Israeli media quoted as saying the operation was in the first of many stages.

Israeli media reported that cabinet ministers approved the mobilisation of 2,500 army reservists, consolidating an earlier call-up of 6,500 soldiers for the garrison on the Gaza border.

France said it would host Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday and an Israeli official said French President Nicolas Sarkozy might visit Quds next Monday.

In Gaza, basic food supplies were running low and power cuts were affecting much of the territory. Hospitals were struggling to cope with the high number of casualties from Israeli offensive.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner called on Tuesday for a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, for Israel to let humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

"We hope for a permanent ceasefire," Kouchner told TF1 television on the sidelines of a meeting in Paris of European Union foreign ministers called to discuss Israeli violence in Gaza.

France, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until Wednesday, has proposed a 48-hour ceasefire to allow aid into the Gaza Strip, which has been hit by four days of Israeli air strikes.

Last Mod: 31 Aralık 2008, 11:31
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