Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip continue to net more and more casualties, 635 killed based on the most recent reports, and while the operation continues to fail at its stated goal of bringing rocket fire from Hamas to a halt Israeli officials remain in no mood to talk peace.
“This is the time for action not words. We are fed up with empty gestures,” Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly told European Foreign Ministers attempting to broker a bilateral end to the fighting, insisting the attacks would continue until the military forced Hamas to stop firing rockets. President Shimon Peres also lashed out at Europe for failing to recognize Hamas’ “evilness” and said Israel aspires to ‘fight an unrelenting war against terror.”
But French President Nicolas Sarkozy continued to plug away at a diplomatic deal he hoped would bring an end to the killings, saying a truce in Gaza was “not far away.” On a visit today to Syria, Sarkozy enlisted the help of President Bashar Assad, whom he hoped would pressure Hamas to pursue peace.
Yet Sarkozy’s comments seem overly optimistic. Hamas was reported several times during the first week of the Israeli attack to be open to a peace deal, but as the death toll has spiraled in Gaza they’ve become more bellicose. Israel likewise is unwilling to consider a truce, and the United States seems determined to keep them from ending the invasion before they’re good and ready.