A senior Israeli official cast doubt on Monday about the possibility of a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine after more than a week of Israeli aggression that has killed hundreds of civilians in Gaza, including children.
Efforts by the United States, Egypt and the United Nations to bring a halt to Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire by Palestinians in Gaza have so far failed to quell the fighting.
Asked if any cease-fire was in the works, a senior Israeli official told Reuters: "There is no such thing right now. There is no negotiation. There is no proposal. There is nothing on the table."
The official said that Egypt was likely the most reliable mediator between Israel and Gaza's Hamas. "They seem most connected," the official said.
Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, has mediated Israel-Hamas cease-fires in the past, along with Qatar and the United Nations. The U.N. General Assembly will meet to discuss the violence on Thursday.
But the senior Israeli official held out the possibility of a more prolonged conflict.
"We have no idea how much time we need, because the rocket fire is unceasing. We can't stop when the attacks are coming in like this. Israel is ready to keep fighting. The target bank is unending. This could go on for months," the official said.
The death toll from the ongoing Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip has risen to 212, the Palestinian Health Ministry said on Monday.
The grim figure includes 61 children, 35 women and 16 elderly people, the ministry said in a statement, adding that 1,400 people have been injured during the offensive.
The Israeli military has staged airstrikes across the Gaza Strip since May 10, leaving behind a massive trail of destruction across the coastal territory.
Ten Israelis have also been killed in Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel.
In its recent indiscriminate attacks, Israel has also targeted the press and Turkish journalists, drawing condemnation from press institutions around the world.
The airstrikes on Gaza were preceded by days of tension and Israeli aggression in occupied East Jerusalem, where hundreds of Palestinians were assaulted by Israeli forces at Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
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