David Cameron has urged Israel to "do everything possible" to end the crisis in Gaza as its military continued to trade missile strikes with Hamas amid fears of a new ground war.
In a phone call with Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu last night, he expressed sympathy for the continued "unacceptable" rocket attacks by militants which have reached Jerusalem for the first time.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister expressed his sympathy for the unacceptable rocket attacks that Israel continued to suffer.
"He also expressed concern over the risk of the conflict escalating further and the danger of further civilian casualties on both sides.
"The Prime Minister said that the UK was putting pressure on both sides to de-escalate and urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to do everything possible to bring the conflict to an end."
Mr Cameron's call came amid intensified international diplomatic efforts to prevent the violence escalating into a full-scale conflict.
Israel launched around 300 airstrikes yesterday on targets in the Gaza strip, including the Hamas prime minister's HQ, a police compound and a building used by Hamas for media broadcasts.
Tens of thousands of reserves have been mobilised while large numbers of troops and tanks have been stationed along the border as it considers whether to launch a ground offensive into Gaza.
Israel said it still wants to hit hundreds of targets.
Palestinian militants meanwhile raised the stakes by aiming some of the latest salvo of 100 rockets at the cultural and commercial centre of Tel Aviv as well as the Israeli capital Jerusalem.
The Israeli military said the onslaught raised the total number to roughly 500 since this week's fighting began.
Health officials said 48 Palestinians have been killed and more than 400 civilians wounded since Wednesday. Three Israeli civilians were killed earlier in the week and more than 50 have been wounded.
Egypt stepped up efforts to broker a ceasefire - holding talks in Cairo with Hamas and key allies Qatar and Turkey while the Arab League also convened an emergency meeting.
Labour urged United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to step in and lead a "full-scale diplomatic initiative" in the region within the coming days.
Shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said: "We urge the UN Secretary General to visit the region this week to begin talks with all parties, and with partners in the region.
"The only hope for peace and security for the citizens of the region will be through re-starting the stalled negotiations towards agreeing a two state solution."
Children's charity Unicef appealed for the "utmost restraint" from both sides to prevent youngsters being killed and injured.
Six Palestinian children aged between 10 months and 15 years have been reported killed and 60 injured in airstrikes on Gaza, it said, with another fatally wounded by a rocket that fell short.
And Israeli schools within a 25-mile radius were closed because of the "indiscriminate" rocket attacks.
"Both rocket attacks and airstrikes are putting children and their families at risk, leaving them exposed to physical harm and mental distress," it said.
"Unicef calls on all parties to do everything to exercise the utmost restraint and to protect the rights and well-being of all children."
Meanwhile protesters gathered near the Israeli embassy in London yesterday condemned the British Government's stance on the conflict.
Speakers took to a podium to condemn the Government after Foreign Secretary William Hague said the Hamas regime in Gaza bore "principal responsibility" for the escalation of violence.
23/11/2012 05:31 GMT
Clinton Warned Netanyahu: Don't Punish Palestinians For U.N. Bid
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during her talks in Israel this week not to take any extreme actions in response to the Palestinian move in the United Nations for recognition as a non-member state. Clinton said such steps against the Palestinian Authority could bring about its collapse. The Palestinians are planning to ask the United Nations General Assembly to vote on upgrading its status from non-member entity on the symbolic date of November 29.
The day after the cease-fire with Hamas took effect, Israel is preparing for the next crisis with the Palestinians, which is scheduled for six days from now. November 29th is the anniversary of the United Nations vote on accepting the Partition Plan in 1947, which led to the founding of the Jewish Sate. It is also the United Nations' International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Read more here.
23/11/2012 03:50 GMT
Report: U.S. Urges Israel Not To Build In E-1 Areas
From the Jerusalem Post:
Washington is urging Israel not to allow construction in the area known as E-1 between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim as a possible response to the Palestinian bid for statehood recognition next week at the UN, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
Building in E-1, which would create contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim to the northeast beyond the Green Line, is something various Israeli governments have long wanted to do, but which US opposition has prevented.
Read more here.
23/11/2012 00:01 GMT
Life In Gaza's Courtyards
The New York Times' Jodi Rudoren chronicles displays of pride and sacrifice:
Inside a courtyard, there are faded remnants of “Congratulations from the uncles,” from the April wedding of a son of Ahmed al-Jabari, the commander of the Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, whose assassination last week was the beginning of the latest round of intense battle between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
On the wall outside, the colorful Arabic script reads “Welcome hajji, Abu Muhammad,” a reference to Mr. Jabari’s return from a pilgrimage to Mecca last month. Nearby, the freshest paint pronounces a message from the troops: “Rest in peace. The mission has been accomplished.”
Read the full story at the New York Times.
22/11/2012 23:19 GMT
PHOTO: Egypt Tunnel Into Gaza
Egypt Tunnel into Gaza:
An underground tunnel connecting through which I got into Gaza from Egypt. Israel has repeatedly targeted the tunnel network, trying to hinder flow of goods and weapons into the strip. (Photo by Mosa'ab Elshamy via Flickr)
22/11/2012 22:55 GMT
Soldiers Show Frustration Via Viral Facebook Photo
16 soldiers spelled out 'loser' with their bodies to critique Netanyahu and show frustration at not going into battle.
22/11/2012 22:29 GMT
Who Brokered The Ceasefire
The Economist discusses how the ceasefire was achieved and whether it could lead to lasting peace in the region.
Among others coming and going were the UN secretary-general, the American secretary of state and the foreign ministers of Turkey and Germany. But the real bargaining took place behind closed doors at the headquarters of General Muhammad Shehata, Egypt’s intelligence chief. There, in separate rooms, the Egyptians haggled with a legal adviser to the Israeli prime minister, and with representatives from Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that runs Gaza, and a smaller, more radical Palestinian faction, Islamic Jihad.
22/11/2012 21:22 GMT
Israeli Arab Arrested for Tel Aviv Bus Bombing
From the Associated Press:
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's army spokeswoman says an Israeli Arab who is a member of Hamas has been arrested for Wednesday's bus bombing in Tel Aviv.
The bombing injured 27 people near Israel's military headquarters and threatened to scuttle efforts to broker a cease-fire to end fighting between Israel and Gaza.
Israeli military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich reported Thursday on Twitter that authorities had arrested the man who planted the bomb on the bus and identified him as an Arab Israeli from the village of Taybeh. She said he was a member of Hamas.
22/11/2012 20:41 GMT
Arrest Made In Tel Aviv Bus Bombing
@ haaretzcom :
BREAKING: #Israel security forces arrest suspects in #TelAviv bus blast http://t.co/91fS0v48
22/11/2012 20:38 GMT
A Palestinian Boy
A Palestinian boy and militants of the Izzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, attend funerals of five Hamas militants in Mugharka village, central Gaza Strip, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. Five Hamas militants were killed in an Israeli air strike yesterday, Palestinian health officials said. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
22/11/2012 20:28 GMT
Israel-Gaza Conflict Winners And Losers
While the cease-fire agreement between Israel and Gaza on Wednesday brought an end to the rockets and airstrikes, the political fallout is just beginning. The Associated Press offers a breakdown of who won and who lost as a result of the truce agreement:
Read the full story on HuffPost World.
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