Israel: Ground Assault 'on Hold'
UN chief calls for immediate truce
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2012 3:51 AM CST
Updated Nov 20, 2012 7:37 AM CST
Palestinians gather near a destroyed building after an Israeli strike in Beit Lahia, north Gaza today.   (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

(Newser) – President Obama dispatched Hillary Clinton to the Middle East as Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and Palestinian rocket fire continued for a seventh day, the AP reports. The secretary of state plans to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem before meeting Palestinian officials in the West Bank and Egyptian leaders in Cairo, the White House says. Clinton's visit comes amid increasing international pressure for a ceasefire in the conflict that has killed at least 110 Palestinians and three Israelis.

  • UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for an immediate ceasefire, saying an Israeli ground offensive would be a "dangerous escalation," Reuters reports. The US has also warned against a ground assault, though an administration spokesman says the US believes "Israel will make its own decisions about the military operations and decisions that it undertakes."
  • Israel says plans for a ground offensive are "on hold" to give truce talks with Hamas a chance of success, reports the BBC. "Before deciding on a ground invasion, the prime minister intends to exhaust the diplomatic move in order to see if a long-term ceasefire can be achieved," a senior Israeli official says.
  • Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal told reporters that since Israel began hostilities with the assassination of military chief Ahmed Jabari last week, it must be the first to end military operations, the Guardian reports. "A ground invasion will not be a walk in the park," he warned. "We don't have the same military and deterrence capabilities but we have deterred them with our will. Our enemy is drowning in the blood of children."
  • Two more Palestinian rockets landed amidst settlements just south of Jerusalem today, setting off warning sirens in the capital, the Jerusalem Post reports. One hit in an open area of a Palestinian village there, though so far no damage or injuries have been reported.
  • Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said that Israel's "aggression" would end today, predicting that negotiations would yield "positive results" in the next few hours, the AP reports.

View 2 more images
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Clinton Bound for Mideast Amid Gaza Ceasefire Push is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 18 comments
Nov 20, 2012 6:19 PM CST
The real question that begs answering is, why now ? Why did Bibi decide to do this just 10 days or so after the US election ? What message is he sending to Obama here? He could have launched this offensive anytime over the last several months, why now ? Is he just being a shit because Romney ,his great supporter lost the election. And would he have done this if Romney had won ? All I see here is questions. And you can call me..............Mr Joshua
Nov 20, 2012 5:47 PM CST
Iron Dome developer: It will get even better mPrest CEO Natan Barak tells "Globes": The Americans told us it wouldn’t work. 19 November 12 19:05, Yuval Azulai Tweet inShare"Engineers at mPrest Systems Ltd., based at Kiryat Arie in Petah Tikva, developed the brains for the Iron Dome's missile interception system. mPrest CEO Natan Barak, a retired Israel Navy colonel and head of the naval software house for IT & C4I systems, founded the company. Development of the Iron Dome's command and control system took a year, and on the basis of the successful close collaboration between mPrest's staff and Iron Dome's chief contractor, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., Rafael acquired 50% of the company in 2010. Barak owns 25%, and other partners own the rest. "We knew with certainty that we would succeed with this project, otherwise we wouldn’t have begun it," Barak told "Globes" today. "All along, I saw our step-by-step progress in the project. It was a miracle at some level. At first, the Americans told us that it wouldn’t work, and yet, it works. I am a believer. I personally believe that this is a supreme achievement." mPrest's command and control system makes an early identification of the target missile, calculates its trajectory, and where it will hit. Within one second, on average, it offers hundreds of interception solutions and picks the best one, with preference for a high altitude interception, ideally over open ground..."
Nov 20, 2012 1:05 PM CST
Hilary may actually really have to take cover this time.