The UN has urged
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The Israeli move to cut off the power, water and fuel supplies on which
The Israeli prime minister's office said Ehud Olmert's security cabinet had approved the "enemy entity" classification and there would be "limitations on imports to the Gaza Strip and a reduction in the supply of fuel and electricity".
The move is seen as retaliation for Palestinian rocket fire.
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"Such a step would be contrary to
Ban said 1.4 million people in
At the same time he said continued rocket fire from
Rice assured "innocent Palestinians in
Israel's move on Gaza was backed by the US on Wednesday, with Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, saying the Hamas was "a hostile entity to the US as well".
Speaking in a joint press conference with Livni in occupied
"We will not abandon the innocent Palestinians in
Rice is on a visit to the
The Israelis and Palestinians, however, have very different expectations of the talks.
Israeli leaders are seeking a softer joint declaration rather than a binding deal while the Palestinians are pushing for a firmer "framework agreement" on core issues of borders, the status of
'Declaration of war'
Tensions have been on the rise in the area since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in mid-June. Hamas responded to the Israeli government's announcement saying the move amounted to a "declaration of war".
But Saeb Erekat, the senior Palestinian negotiator and spokesman for the West Bank-based government, told Al Jazeera the Israeli move was "illegal and null and void".
"At the end of the day, it will not end the cycle of violence but complicate matters and breed more violence," he added.