SA condemns Gaza violence

The South African government slammed escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and called for talks to end...

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The South African government slammed escalating violence in the Gaza Strip and called for talks to end hostilities on Sunday.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Israeli troops launched a full-on ground assault on Sunday following days of aerial bombardments that had left hundreds of people dead.

Government said the loss of life and the unfolding humanitarian crisis in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza was unacceptable.

Similar calls were made by other nations but these appeared to fall on deaf ears.

Israel emphasized that it must act to protect its people and to root out Hamas.

Israel’s defence ministry insisted it was not targetting Palestinian civilians but Hamas.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Israeli troops continued their battle with Hamas fighters in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza on Monday.

The tank, artillery and air strikes aimed at bringing an end to rocket attacks on <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Israel</country-region> took the death toll to over 510.

Intense international pressure for a ceasefire continued despite the <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">United States</country-region> government digging in its heels over United Nations calls for a ceasefire.

Sky’s correspondent Robert Nisbet was at the UN Headquarters in <state w:st="on">New York when he said, “It does seem as though there’s a long way to go before <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">America</country-region> will find that form of words that it will find acceptable but until that moment is reached, the diplomatic negotiations and toings and froings continues.”

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon called for an immediate end to <country-region w:st="on">Israel</country-region>’s ground offensive in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza.

In a telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Ban conveyed his extreme concern and disappointment.

He urged regional and international partners to exert all possible influence to bring about an immediate end to bloodshed and suffering.