Israel ratcheted up diplomatic activities across the world today, as its attacks on the Gaza Strip continue to net a growing death toll of both militants and civilians. As its ground forces prepare for an invasion of the strip, the diplomats hope to win international acquiescence for continuing the attacks far into the future.
The diplomacy is in no small measure damage control, after the Israeli government rejected an attempt by France to broker a 48-hour humanitarian ceasefire to allow food and medicine into the strip and give residents time to dig family members from the rubble they are still buried beneath. It was no small embarrassment that Hamas supported the truce, and did considerable harm to the foreign ministry’s message that Israel is the peace-loving nation beset by an unreasonable enemy.
Visiting France today, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni warned that any truce “would give Hamas legitimacy.” She also insisted, in spite of overwhelmed hospitals, lack of power and running water, and scarce food and medical supplies, that “there is no humanitarian crisis in the Strip.”
Though Prime Minister Ehud Olmert insists Israel is “not eager to wage a war on a wide front,” it has continued to escalate attacks throughout the week, and is now poised to launch a “major ground invasion” against the strip.