Cease-fire demanded

Cease-fire demanded

Israel is allowing Palestinians with foreign passports to leave the Gaza Strip.

An Israel Defense Forces spokesman said close to 300 Palestinians have been allowed through the Israeli-controlled Erez Crossing because they hold citizenship from other countries, including the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Kazakhstan, reported the Associated Press.

The news came as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Hamas’ leaders of holding the people of Gaza hostage and said an end to violence would only be possible once Hamas stopped firing rockets into Israel, according to AP.

Rice said the United States continues to seek a “durable and sustainable” cease-fire.

“The Hamas has used Gaza as a launching pad for rockets against Israeli cities, and has contributed deeply to a very bad daily life for the Palestinian people in Gaza and to a humanitarian situation that we have all been trying to address,” she said. “We are working toward a cease-fire that would not allow a re-establishment of the status quo.”

In related news, an Israeli policeman was lightly wounded by stone throwers after Friday prayers in eastern Jerusalem.

Security forces were hit by stones in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras el-Amud and two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a police station in that neighborhood, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Stones were also thrown at police and soldiers in three other areas, including during a demonstration against the Gaza operation outside the Rockefeller Museum in eastern Jerusalem. No injuries were reported.