The Palestinian government issued a statement on Tuesday afternoon condemning the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip and called on Israel to stop any military operations because it damages the Palestinian-Israeli ongoing talks.

The statement was made after the Palestinian government headed by Dr Salam Fayyad met today in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.

The government of Fayyad was appointed in late June 2007 by the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when he fired the Hamas-led government in the same month. In January 2006 Hamas won the parliamentary elections and formed the Palestinian government. A power struggle between Fatah and Hamas emerged shortly after. In June 2007 Hamas took total control of the Gaza Strip and Fatah headed by President Abbas controlled the West Bank.

On Tuesday morning Israeli tanks and bulldozers invaded the eastern part of the Gaza Strip, the operation that lasted several hours finished leaving 17 Palestinians killed and ten others injured.

In the press conference that followed the government meeting in Ramallah, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the spokesman of the government Dr Riyad Al Malki said that his government will not stand still in front of those Israeli crimes. He assured that his government will call on the US, the EU and the UN to put international pressure on Israel to stop its violent attack against the residents of Gaza. He also demanded an international force to enter Gaza to protect Palestinians from the Israeli army attacks.

Al Malki also said that those continuous Israeli attacks on Gaza, and the ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank, leave the Palestinian side with doubts about Israeli intentions for peace, adding that those Israeli actions ‘are fatal for the peace process’.

The Palestinian and Israeli negotiation teams have met on Monday in the occupied city of Jerusalem to resume the peace talks after the peace process was reinstated during the one-day American sponsored Annapolis conference for Middle East peace in Maryland, US.