Israel has ruled out any ceasefire talks with Hamas and vowed to keep up its retaliatory attacks on Gaza.
This week alone, 20 people were killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Hamas-ruled territory. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is unrepentant.
“There is no other way to describe what is going on in the Gaza Strip except a war, and it will continue.”
Israel insists it has no choice but to hit back at Palestinian armed groups intent on attacking it.
Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza are becoming a daily occurence.
The most-recent one hit a school in the town of Sderot. It caused panic, but no-one was hurt.
Israel says Hamas must accept the basic international tenets for peace in the 2003 “road map”.
But today it disclosed next year’s budget provides for more building in the occupied West Bank.
As well as demanding an end to violence, the “road map” insists Israel freeze expansion of its settlements.
An Israeli minister said there were plans for 750 homes but the two earmarked zones in the West Bank were “sure to be included in Israeli territory in any negotiation.”
It’s believed these plans were a source of friction at the recent Israeli-Palestinian talks in Annapolis.