Despite the US Federal Aviation Authority ban on flights to Tel Aviv airport, US Secretary of State John Kerry made his way to Israel on Wednesday in hopes of brokering a truce between Israel and Hamas forces.
His arrival in Tel Aviv came a day after a Gaza rocket struck close to the airport. The conflict in Gaza, which has caused the death of 600 plus Palestinians and 31 Israelis, has entered its 16th day.
At the start of a flying visit to Israel, Kerry said that regional diplomacy efforts had made some progress but said more time was needed.
“We have certainly made some steps forward, but there is still work to be done,” Kerry said in Jerusalem at the start of a meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon whom he also met in Cairo on Monday.
The UN chief warned there was no time to lose.
“We are now joining our forces in strength to make a ceasefire as soon as possible,” he said.
Kerry then went to the West Bank city of Ramallah for talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and was later return to Tel Aviv for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
But the fighting doesn’t seem to be letting up. Israeli forces pummeled Gaza on Wednesday, meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists and sending thousands of residents fleeing.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest from Gaza.