Condoleezza Rice sier USA ønsker en våpenhvile i Gaza, men ikke en tilbakevenden til situasjonen før Israel gikk til aksjon. Hamas må slutte å bruke sivilbefolkningen som skjold for å angripe Israel. Det må kontrolltiltak og garantier på plass som forhindrer en gjentakelse, sier Rice.

Hun er i konstant kontakt med alle aktører i og utenfor regionen, men så langt har ikke Hamas signalisert vilje til en varig, kontrollerbar våpenhvile.

«Hamas has held the people of Gaza hostage ever since their illegal coup against the forces of (Palestinian Authority) President Mahmoud Abbas,» she said. Rice also charged that Hamas «has used Gaza as a launching pad» for firing rockets into the Jewish state and that, as a result, the Palestinians living in Gaza have had «a very bad daily life.»

«We are working toward a cease-fire that would not allow a re-establishment of the status quo ante, where Hamas could launch rockets,» Rice said. «It’s obvious that a cease-fire should take place as soon as possible but we want a cease-fire that is durable and sustainable.»

The secretary said the United States has been in «constant contact» with all the parties in the region and with leaders of other nations and organizations to try to bring an end to the violence.

She said she is looking for a solution «that will be a sustainable» for Israel, the people of Gaza and of the Middle East.

Rice: US wants ‘sustainable’ ceasefire