Gaza crisis: Israel ground invasion plan ‘on hold’

Israel has put plans for a ground operation in Gaza “on hold” to give talks to secure a truce with Hamas militants a chance, officials say.

BBC, November 20

It is understood Israel has set a Thursday deadline for the Egypt-brokered talks to succeed.

The conflict began last Wednesday when Israel killed a top Hamas military commander, saying it wanted to end rocket attacks on its soil.

More than 110 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed so far.

Tuesday has seen a reduced level of violence, correspondents say, even though Israel has conducted some strikes – one was a “direct hit” on two militants in northern Gaza, the Israeli military said.

An invation to go with your Turkey?

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  • Navy sends three warships, Marines to waters off Israel

    Stars and Stripes, By Cristina Silva, November 20

    Naples — The U.S. Navy directed three warships and the Marines aboard last week to remain on standby near the coast of Israel as a security precaution as the Gaza Strip conflict between Israel and Hamas continued to escalate.

    “This is being done as a precautionary measure to allow the Marine team to respond to any crisis or contingency, whatever is out there,” said Cmdr. Marc Boyd, spokesman for U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Africa. “It is a prudent measure.”

    The USS Iwo Jima, the USS New York and the USS Gunston Hall had completed recent port visits in Europe and were expected to return to Norfolk, Va., on Nov. 28 after their eight-month deployment when they were redirected toward Israel, Boyd said. The ships will remain in the region until further notice, Boyd said. There are roughly 2,300 Marines and sailors embarked on the ships.

    The Marines are assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit out of Camp Lejeune, N.C.

  • Egypt’s Morsi sees Gaza conflict ending on Tuesday

    The Egyptian president said ‘the farce of Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip will end on Tuesday,’ according to a report by MENA; Egypt has been trying to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas.

    Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said on Tuesday that “Israeli aggression” against Gaza would end later in the day, the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.

    “President Mohammed Morsi announced that the farce of Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip will end on Tuesday,” MENA said, quoting public remarks made by the country’s head of state after the funeral of his sister.

    “The efforts to conclude a truce between the Palestinian and Israeli sides will produce positive results in the next few hours,” he was quoted as saying.

    Haaretz Live Blog: Morsi: Gaza conflict will end Tuesday; 2 rockets land south of Jerusalem

  • US blocks UN Council statement on Gaza

    France24, November 20

    – The United States on Tuesday blocked a UN Security Council statement on the Gaza conflict, saying it was “counter-productive,” as attempts are made to reach a ceasefire, diplomats told AFP.

    The United States sent a letter to other council missions just before a Tuesday deadline to approve the Arab-proposed statement saying it was “failing to address the root causes” of the showdown between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers, according to UN diplomats.

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