Israel rejects cease-fire proposal


(JTA) — Israel rejected a cease-fire proposal and said it will continue its operation in Gaza as long as Palestinians continue to launch rockets at Israeli citizens.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made the decision to press ahead in Gaza after meeting with the national Security Cabinet on Wednesday. They also rejected a French-proposed 48-hour cease-fire.

The Israel Air Force struck the office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh overnight Tuesday.

Israel’s air force and navy also struck other government offices, smuggling tunnels near the Egyptian border, weapons-storage facilities, Hamas outposts, Hamas training camps and rocket launchers in the early hours of Wednesday morning as part of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which began Saturday. 

At least 60 rockets from Gaza struck Israel on Wednesday, including as far away as Beersheba.

Meanwhile, two injured Palestinian infants from Gaza were transferred to Israel for treatment, and a 6-year-old Palestinian boy with head injuries was brought from the Erez crossing to a children’s hospital in Petah Tikvah, according to Ynet.

Some 390 Palestinians have been killed and 1,900 wounded since the Gaza operation began, according to Palestinian and U.N. sources. A spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, told the AFP news service that at least 25 percent of those killed are civilians. Four Israelis — one soldier and three civilians — have been killed.

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