After a week of shelling Gaza day and night, the Israeli army stepped up strikes over the weekend, killing fifteen Palestinians, including an eight-year old child and his father, and wounding dozens of people, some seriously.  And on Sunday the Israeli government decided to sever all ties with the recently-elected Hamas government of the Palestinian people.

On Sunday, the Israeli army fired artillery shells at a Palestinian security post in the northern Gaza Strip, killing one person and wounding at least six others.  On Saturday, eight Palestinian fighters were killed in two separate air strikes.  The Israeli army also killed five fighters and a five-year-old boy in a strike on a car in southern Gaza on Friday.

In a statement issued after a security cabinet meeting on Sunday, Israeli officials announced that the Israeli government considered the new Palestinian Authority a "hostile entity", and would have no relations with its leadership.  They also announced that the Israeli government would shun foreign diplomats who meet members of the Hamas administration.

The boycott of foreign diplomats is similar to one imposed on those who met the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

Then diplomats were only able to meet with Israeli officials after leaving the region and returning at a later date.

Israel says it will have no contact with Hamas unless it renounces violence and agrees to recognize the Jewish state.