Diplomatic efforts to achieve a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip yielded no apparent breakthrough on Tuesday, but Secretary of State
More than 600 Palestinians and at least 29 Israelis have died in a blistering two-week Israeli offensive against
“We are continuing to work, and there is more work to be done,” Kerry said after a round of high-level meetings in Cairo with officials including Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Sisi, Arab League president Nabil Elaraby and the intelligence chief for the
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shukry, who also met with Kerry, said at a joint news conference that his government had no plans to alter the terms of its truce proposal, which was accepted by Israel but spurned by Hamas.
Israel's stated aim is to destroy infiltration tunnels leading out of Gaza and wipe out Hamas' ability to fire rockets and missiles at Israel.
But with round-the-clock bombardment hitting homes and mosques in tightly packed residential neighborhoods, there have been numerous instances of whole families being killed and wounded. About three-quarters of the Palestinian dead in Gaza are civilians, many women and children among them.
In Tel Aviv, meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister
Ban, who has sharply criticized Israel's actions in recent days, said he recognized its right to self-defense, but also stressed that all combatants had a responsibility to protect civilians.
"My message to Israelis and Palestinians is the same: stop fighting," he said.
In Cairo, Kerry and Shukry took no questions from reporters, but said they shared the goal of not only achieving a swift truce to halt the fighting, but also crafting a durable accord to prevent periodic outbreaks of conflict in Gaza. The current fighting is the third round of warfare in the strip since 2009.
"We have a common vision," said Shukry, citing the need to "put an end to the bloodshed and killing of innocent children."
He praised a U.S. pledge of $47 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza, announced by Kerry when he arrived in the Egyptian capital late Monday.
Kerry did not publicly commit to an attempt to revive overall Israeli-Palestinian talks that collapsed in April, but said "just reaching a cease-fire, clearly, is not enough." He said it was imperative to also address "all the concerns that have brought us to where we are today" in Gaza.