President Barack Obama has dispatched Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to Israel where she will meet with Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian officials in and effort to negotiate a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Gaza.
The Washington Post is reporting that Clinton is en route from Phnom Penh, where she and President Obama were meeting with officials at the East Asia Summit. Clinton will be meeting with leaders in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo in an attempt to resolve the week long conflict which has claimed the lives of more then 100 Palestinians.
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has already arrived in the area. He is meeting with Israeli President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Netanyahu in Jerusalem before heading to a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city Ramallah.
On Tuesday, Ban told reporters:
“My message is clear. All sides must halt fire immediately. Further escalating the situation will put the entire region at risk.”
According to CNN, comments made by Michael Oren, Israeli's ambassador to the United States, regarding Israel having finished its planning for a ground invasion of Gaza prompted the quick response from the U.S and United Nations.
World News Australia has announced that Israeli ministers have decided to delay their plans to launch the ground invasion, saying:
"A decision was taken that for the time being there is a temporary hold on the ground incursion to give diplomacy a chance to succeed. They discussed both the state of the diplomacy and the military operation."
Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the United Nations, called the announcement ''meaningful and sustainable''.
The Israeli military said it had hit 100 targets in Gaza overnight, including the Gaza headquarters of the National Islamic Bank. Five rockets were fired from Gaza during the course of the night.
A White House spokesman has said that Clinton will make it clear a ground assault and escalation of the conflict would be in nobody's interest. William Hague, the British foreign secretary said:
"I am pleased that Israel has held back from a ground invasion while such negotiations go on, and that the rate of rocket attacks on Israel has fallen, for whatever reason, over the last 24 hours. These are positive developments, but of course it remains a desperately serious and difficult situation."