By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem and Anne Penketh
Thursday, 1 January 2009
Security cabinet rejects EU-backed peace proposal as tanks mass on the border with Gaza
Israel has defied a formidable international consensus in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza by opting to continue its unprecedentedly fierce air attacks on Hamas targets and stepping up preparations for a possible ground offensive.
As the security cabinet rejected an EU-backed French proposal for a 48-hour humanitarian halt to the bombing, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “We did not begin the Gaza operation in order to finish it with rocket fire continuing like it did before. Israel has restrained [itself] for years and given plenty of chances for a calm.”