Amid European calls for an end to the violence, EU foreign ministers have been meeting in emergency session in Paris.
Bernard Kouchner of France, the outgoing head of the bloc, hosted the talks as pressure builds on Israel to halt the bombings.
The French have proposed a 48-hour ceasefire to allow aid into Gaza. The idea of an urgent truce is also being backed by Britain, which has highlighted the contribution the EU can make.
“I think that the EU does have a role with words which are important in calling for an immediate ceasefire and lending the EU’s weight,” said British Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
“Secondly, I think the EU does have an important humanitarian role. There is big EU money that needs to go in to help provide the food and the fuel and the medicines that are desperately needed in Gaza.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will hold talks with Israel’s foreign minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday.
Israel is reportedly considering France’s proposal of a temporary truce. Ehud Olmert’s spokesman however appeared to pour cold water on the idea, saying Hamas must be kept under pressure so it does not have time to reorganise.