U.S. officials have also cautioned Israelis against launching a ground assault inside the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza in a bid to stop militants there from firing rockets into southern Israel. Bush Administration officials warn that such an attack could cost many lives and jeopardize the painstaking, thus far futile efforts of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.Even granted that it is clear that under the current leadership no such Israeli attack is forthcoming: considering that the US is pressuring Israel to do nothing in Gaza, just how effective is this warning to Mashaal that Gaza is in danger of an attack supposed to be?
To strengthen the case against Israel invading Gaza, U.S. officials turned to Jordan's King Abdullah for help in stemming the rocket attacks from Gaza, according to knowledgeable Palestinian and Jordanian officials. Because the U.S. has avoided direct talks with the militant Hamas movement, which runs Gaza but which the U.S. deems a terrorist organization, Abdullah was approached to act as a go-between, these sources told TIME. The Jordanian monarch complied with the U.S. request and last week dispatched a senior intelligence officer to Damascus to warn exiled Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal that Gaza was in danger of an Israeli attack unless the rocket fire was immediately stopped.
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