WASHINGTON - Deputy White House Press Secretary Gordon Johndroe said Tuesday that while the US would like to see an end to the Israeli offensive in Gaza, Hamas would first have to stop firing rockets at Israel.
Speaking at a press briefing held at US President George W. Bush's Texas ranch, Johndroe said that the US does not want to see a ceasefire "which isn’t worth the paper it's written on," but rather a long-term, sustainable truce.
He then went on to advise reporters to take the reports coming out of Gaza regarding the numbers of casualties with a grain of salt, adding that numbers aside, both sides know what has to be done to end the conflict. Hamas, he said should stop firing rocket, thereby eliminating Israel's need to defend its citizens from rocket fire.
Johndroe rebuffed reports suggesting Israel had targeted Palestinian police officers, saying Hamas has control of the entire Strip and is recruiting and training people for its own purposes.
Meanwhile, President Bush spoke with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and told them both that insisting on a ceasefire before the situation in Gaza stabilizes is futile.
The US also pledged $85 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), to be allotted to the Palestinian people.
Some $60 million are to be funneled to the Gaza Strip and $25 million to the West Bank.