by Steve Handlesman
The bombs are still falling in Gaza, but Israeli officials are reportedly considering a two-day ceasefire, if Hamas agrees.
US officials are echoing the Israeli claim that Hamas is entirely to blame for the violence that's so far killed about 400 people.
Day four of the fighting was less bloody, but still horrifying to Palestinians in Gaza.
More than 370 are reported killed. Many more wounded. Israeli pilots targeted Hamas leadership and missile launch sites. Israelis today buried their dead from Hamas rocket attacks. As of midday, four israelis had died. Hamas rockets landing deeper into Israel than ever before. 250 strikes this week. Israeli tanks are ready to force their way into Gaza in a ground invasion if Hamas does not cease fire.
Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu says "you cannot say both Israel and Hamas are symmetrically blamed. They're not. One side is to blame, the side that targets civilians and hides behind civilians. That's Hamas.
The Israeli line was strongly echoed by President Bush's spokesman.
White House Spokesman Gordon Johndroe says "Hamas stops firing rockets and Israel will not see a need to protect its people from rocket attack."
But critics say with surviving Hamas leaders in hiding and no way to eliminate most of Hamas' rockets, it's Palestinian civilians getting punished for backing Hamas. And the reputation of the U.S. is getting pounded. What if Barack Obama weren't still on vacation and instead his team were speaking for the U.S. to the Israelis?
Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution says "I think you would hear calls for an earlier end to the operation and a recognition that the military benefits of this campaign have probably already been largely accomplished to the extent that they are achievable at all."
But the Israelis say they can end the threat of Hamas rockets and say, whether their next move is a ceasefire or an invasion of Gaza, that it's still "all out war."
Tonight, the Bush Administration says a ceasefire for the sake of ceasefire would not be worth the paper it's written on.