Amid Palestinian in-fighting, children in Gaza have set fire to toy weapons, in a symbolic call to adults to lay down their arms. Whether the gunmen of Hamas or Fatah are listening remains unclear. Sporadic fighting has continued despite calls for calm from Palestinian politicians although reports suggest the latest ceasefire may finally be taking hold.
Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will attend Tuesday’s talks in Mecca between exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah.
Amid fears the fighting could extend to renewed anti-Israeli violence, press reports suggest Israel has stepped up preparations for a possible military incursion into Gaza. That is something Israeli Vice Premier Shimon Peres is firmly against.
“Israel does not intend to intervene in Gaza,” he said.
“Let the Gazians decide their own destiny, their own situation. Any attempt by Israel to intervene there will put Israel in an impossible situation.”
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his cabinet have approved the appointment of new army chief Gabi Ashkenazi. His predecessor resigned after criticism of his handling of last year’s war against Hezbollah.