German, Jordanian Foreign Ministers Call for Cease-fire
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on Monday for Hamas to "immediately" stop rocket fire on Israel, as diplomatic pressure to halt a flare-up of violence around Gaza intensified.
"Firing rockets on Israel by Hamas should stop immediately," Steinmeier told a joint news conference with his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh in Amman.
"If we want to see an end to this violence, these attacks should stop," he said through an interpreter.
"The Israelis and the Palestinians have no substitute for peace negotiations, even if this now is elusive. A two-state solution and an end to violence are needed."
Steinmeier, who is due to travel on to Israel this week, said his mission to the Middle East "seeks to find fundamental solutions to end the escalation."
It comes as Israel pressed its campaign of self-defense against Hamas missiles for the seventh day, after 1,000 rockets have been fired on Israel at major population centers in one week.
Steinmeier, however, focused on the more than 150 deaths reported in Gaza since the operation began.
"Many innocent people have died in the escalation... We have seen terrifying images of dead and wounded civilians that cannot be tolerate," Steinmeier said.
His Jordanian counterpart condemned the mounting death toll among non-combatants, who have made up more than three-quarters of the dead in Gaza, human rights groups say. Hamas has encouraged civilians in Gaza to become human shields to increase their 'propaganda war' on Israel.
"We discussed today developments in Gaza and Israel's aggression on the Strip and on civilians, which are very dangerous," Judeh said. "Violence should end and targeting civilians should stop."
Both foreign ministers join a chorus of calls for a cease-fire to be convened and peace talks to be resumed since Israel began defending itself against the rocket fire seven days ago.
Israel reportedly offered Hamas a 40-hour cease-fire last week, sources said Sunday afternoon, which Hamas immediately rejected. Hamas reiterated on Monday that it would not accept any deal without Israel meeting several harsh conditions for a truce, including releasing terrorists and stopping a blockade.
It should be noted that not only has Hamas breached each cease-fire ever offered from Israel since rocket fire began in 2001, but also that they have reiterated repeatedly during the current hostilities that they have no interest in a cease-fire arrangement.