U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Israelis and Palestinians on Wednesday to get back to peace talks suspended by violence in the Gaza Strip. According to Reuters, Rice met Palestinian negotiators Ahmed Quri and Saeb Erekat and was due to see Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on the last day of a two-day visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank.
U.S. officials said Rice would urge Israel to try harder to avoid harming civilians in the Strip.
Meanwhile, Israeli premier Ehud Olmert held a meeting Wednesday with the Israeli Ministerial Council to discuss the next military steps against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. "The military activity against Hamas will continue as long as the (rocket) fire persists," Olmert said prior to the security meeting, according to ynet.