Humanitarian Crisis In Gaza : Smoke billows from Gaza yesterday following an Israeli army ground operation to destroy tunnels reportedly used by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip to enter Israel. Photo: AFP
Israel will not halt its fire in Gaza until it finishes an operation aimed at destroying tunnels used by militants for cross-border attacks, a senior minister said yesterday.
As world efforts to broker a ceasefire in war-torn Gaza gathered pace, Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni also ruled out any acceptance of the "unacceptable" demands laid out by Hamas as a condition for halting its fire.
She said the question of an immediate ceasefire with Hamas was not going to happen at this stage.
"First of all, it won't happen before we really finish the tunnels project which was laid out as a strategic objective," she told Ynet news website, referring to a major operation that started on the evening of July 17.
"Second, it won't happen in a way in which Hamas's completely unacceptable conditions are met, because it just wont," she said.
Last week, an Egyptian ceasefire proposal was accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas, which kept up its rocket fire across the border. After five hours of holding fire, Israel resumed its punishing operation in Gaza.
A majority of Israelis support continuing the operation, a survey conducted by daily freesheet Israel Hayom said. Some 77 percent of respondents opposed an immediate ceasefire, with only 16 percent supporting it, the poll said.