World Diplomats Push Ceasefire between Israel, Gaza

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ASHDOD, Israel - A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas could come soon as talks to put an end the deadly fighting have been underway all day.

Meanwhile Israel intensified air strikes today as terror groups in the Gaza Strip pummeled Israeli cities with more than 140 rockets. An Israeli Defense Force soldier and an Israeli bedouin were killed Tuesday in the attacks.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would hold off on a ground offensive for 24 hours and would be a "willing partner" to a ceasefire agreement.

Can Hamas enforce a ceasefire agreement? CBN News Senior Editor John Waage has spent years covering the Middle East in our Jerusalem Bureau, offers more insight.

Talk of a possible ceasefire comes as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heads to the region to try to usher in a deal.

Talks have been taking place in Egypt where Egyptian President President Mohammed Morsi said he thinks an end to attacks would come quickly.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak also said Israel would allow a 24-hour test period to see if Hamas would actually stop rocket attacks.

Meanwhile, air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem earlier Tuesday after Palestinian terrorists launched a rocket that landed in the West Bank. No injuries have been reported.

The assault comes as international warnings are ramping up for the Jewish State to cease its campaign to silence the terrorist attacks.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Israel Tuesday to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayahu.

But as talk of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas gathers steam, Israelis are hunkered down for whatever may come.

Gaza Attacks Continue

A full week into the latest round of the Israeli-Gaza conflict, Palestinians are still launching rockets at Israel and the Israeli Air Force is still pounding terror sites in the Gaza Strip.

The international community is urging Israel to avoid a ground incursion but Israel said a ceasefire too soon wouldn't be good.

"We don't just want a ceasefire," Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau said.

For Israel, one of the star players has been the Iron Dome anti-missile system, intercepting some 350 rockets that would likely have hit populated areas.

Maj. Aryeh Shalicar said the situation would have been chaotic without it.

"If I just compare a few years ago with the Iron Dome, people are scared. You're talking about almost half of like 150 million Americans - you cannot live like that," Shalicar said.

The system is 80-90 percent effective in shooting down rockets that would have landed in populated areas, but some are getting through - including  one that hit a school in Ashkelon on Monday.

"All the schools closed, know that Hamas is targeting civilians," Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

In Ashkelon, children whose parents need to work are being taken care of in a shelter.

A multiple-language call center at the municipality in Ashdod is helping the population to cope with physical and emotional challenges.

"We are not scary," Ashdod Municipality's Hagit said. "We have a very big faith in our government that everything is going to be okay."

"It's not our right to defend our people. It's our duty as a government," Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein said.

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CBN News
Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl

CBN News Middle East Correspondent

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