Rockets continued to fall on Israel throughout the day while rumors persisted that a ceasefire will be declared tonight. Israel Radio reported that a ceasefire would be declared in Jerusalem during the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. According to these reports the ceasefire would include mechanisms overseen by Israel, Egypt, and the US. Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad said that they expected a ceasefire to come into effect tonight,
Despite hopes for a ceasefire rockets rained over Israel throughout the day. A man was seriously injured in Ashkelon. One rocket hit south of Jerusalem in the Bethlehem region while another struck a building in Rishon Lezion slightly injuring four people.
Israel continued air raids on Gaza and residents of the eastern neighborhoods of Gaza City were warned to evacuate their homes.
Throughout the day there was major diplomatic activity in Jerusalem. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and Quartet Special Envoy to the Middle East Tony Blair all met Israeli leaders and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was due in Jerusalem tonight.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Westerwelle. "I prefer a diplomatic solution. I hope that we can get one but if not, we have every right to defend ourselves with other means and we shall use them." "As you know, we seek a diplomatic unwinding to this, through the discussions of ceasefire. But if the firing continues we will have to take broader action, and we won’t hesitate to do so."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 20, 2012
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