A U.S. ban on commercial flights to Tel Aviv is lifted, while a truce between the Jewish state and Hamas Palestinian fighters remains elusive as the death toll rises above 700. Jillian Kitchener reports.
The air is thick with tension on the Gaza border. Israel says it needs more time to destroy tunnels used by Hamas militants. And Palestinian Islamists demand the blockade on the Gaza Strip be lifted. With the Palestinian death toll reaching over 700, much work still needs to be done before a ceasefire is agreed to. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond is in Jerusalem for talks. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY PHILIP HAMMOND SAYING: "The British government is very clear that Israel has the right to defend itself, just as we would defend ourselves if somebody was attacking us with rockets. But that right has to be exercised with proper restraint and with a proper effort to minimise the civilian casualties." This scene is all too familiar for Palestinians living in Gaza, waking up to damage caused by Israeli strikes. Rockets continue to fly toward Tel Aviv. And Hamas said its gunmen carried out a lethal ambush on Israeli soldiers in north Gaza. But in a positive development for Israel's economy, a U.S. ban on commercial flights to Tel Aviv was lifted on Thursday. Though European airlines are still standing down, leaving some passengers confused at the airport. (SOUNDBITE) (English) STRANDED PASSENGER BATYA AVIV: "Currently we don't know what to do because nobody is telling us if the flights are going on time or not." A U.S. official said any truce by the weekend is unlikely.