Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he is willing to negotiate with Israel and find a political solution to the ongoing crisis. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Overwhelmed by grief in Gaza. Israeli air strikes shook Gaza every few minutes on Wednesday, and militants kept up rocket fire at Israel's heartland -- intensifying warfare that Palestinian officials say has killed at least 38 people in the Hamas-dominated enclave. No serious Israeli fatalities or serious injuries have been reported. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas offers to talk. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT, MAHMOUD ABBAS, SAYING: "We, from our side, know well that Israel is not defending itself, but its settlements. Its fundamental plan is settlements and it's protecting that. A political solution as the Israelis see it might be impossible, but despite this, we will negotiate. But we must know where this Israeli policy is going." In a statement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "We have decided to step up even more the attacks on Hamas and terrorist organizations in Gaza." Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner says they are targeting Hamas. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI ARMY SPOKESMAN ,PETER LERNER, SAYING: "The military mission is two-fold: primarily to strike Hamas and cause it a serious toll for the aggression that they have shown against Israel; and secondly to deplete their rocket capability." Cairo brokered a truce in the conflict two years ago. But but the current Egyptian government's hostility toward Hamas, which it accuses of aiding militants in Egypt's Sinai peninsula, could make a mediation role more difficult. Hamas denies the allegations.