Israel yet to respond to Mubarak initial truce proposal
The U.N. Security Council, mulling its own action to end Israel's attack on Gaza Strip, waited on Wednesday for Israel's response to a U.S.-backed ceasefire proposal by Egypt. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, while calling for a "durable and sustainable" truce, commended Egypt's attempts but made clear there could be no deal unless Hamas halted attacks on Israel and stopped smuggling arms into Gaza.
"We need urgently to conclude a ceasefire that can endure and that can bring real security," Rice told the Security Council on Tuesday at a session called to discuss the Israeli operation.
Egypt's proposal calls for a limited initial truce to allow aid into Gaza residents and would then give time for Cairo to broker a more permanent ceasefire.
The Bush administration is pressing for a ceasefire that would include three elements: a halt to rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza, the opening of border crossings into the territory and an end to smuggling into the area through tunnels from Egypt.
In an emotional appeal for a ceasefire, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged backing for Mubarak's plan. "Do not let one more Palestinian mother cry for her children, do not allow it, put an end to the massacre of my people, let my people live, and let my people be free," he said.