No more rocket fire key to truce Rice says

Jan. 2, 2009 at 1:37 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 2 (UPI) -- The United States and allies want an Israeli-Hamas cease-fire that includes no more rocket fire from Gaza, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Friday.

"It is obvious that that cease-fire should take place as soon as possible, but we need a cease-fire that is durable and sustainable," Rice said during a media availability. "We are working toward a cease-fire that would not allow a re-establishment of the status quo ante, where Hamas can continue to launch rockets out of Gaza."

Israel has engaged in airstrikes on Gaza since Saturday, saying the operation is meant to destroy Hamas's ability to fire rockets and mortar rounds at southern Israel.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, was holding the strip's citizens "hostage" and "has contributed deeply to a very bad daily life" for Palestinians living there, said Rice, adding that she doesn't plan a trip to the Middle East.

Rice said she and President George Bush have been in contact with leaders in Europe and Arab states "to find a solution to Gaza that will be a sustainable one for the people of Gaza, for the people of Israel, and for the people of the Palestinian territories of the Middle East more broadly."

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