European foreign ministers have joined international calls for an immediate and lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, to allow humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza.
After an emergency session in Paris, the EU said that food, medical supplies and fuel should be delivered to the coastal enclave and aid workers allowed in. French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said: “The ceasefire should be permanent and adhered to by all. This must not be allowed to flare up again. We are convinced that the answer to this problem can be solved by diplomacy, not by fighting. We are pushing hard for peace.” Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis are being stepped up. A delegation of EU ministers will travel to the Middle East in the next few days. Meanwhile Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is due in Paris on Thursday for talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy. Palestinian officials say almost 400 people have been killed so far in the air strikes. Four Israelis have died as a result of rocket attacks launched by militants from Gaza.