Officials in Gaza say that 512 Palestinians have died in the two-week Israeli offensive in the region. Twenty Israelis—including 13 soldiers that were killed on Sunday—are also dead in the latest surge of violence. U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry are both headed to Cairo as diplomats and leaders around the world continue to push for a cease-fire agreement. In a statement, a state department spokeswoman said Sunday night that the U.S. is "deeply concerned about the risk of further escalation, and the loss of more innocent life.”

Earlier on Sunday, Kerry was caught in a “hot-mic” incident as he was recorded commenting on civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip, saying, "It's a hell of a pinpoint operation.” He later clarified on the record in an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, adding, “It's tough to have this kind of operation. I reacted obviously in a way that, you know, anybody does with respect to young children and civilians. But, war is tough, and I said that publicly and I'll say it again. We defend Israel's right to do what it is doing in order to get at those tunnels. Israel has accepted a unilateral cease-fire. It's accepted the Egyptian plan which we also support" ... Discuss

Tensions have once again flared up on the border of Israel and Gaza, after a series of rockets were fired from the Hamas-controlled area into southern Israel. Though no one was injured in the attacks, it is seen as the most serious eruption of violence since the two sides agreed on a ceasefire following a mini-war in November. The outbreak started after a Palestinian prisoner, held by Israel, died of cancer, sparking outrage in Gaza. Israel responded to the rocket attacks by launching an airstrike on the region, targeting terror sites. An Israeli spokesperson said, “(Israel's armed forces) decided to attack overnight in order to signal to Hamas that we will not suffer any strike on the south. And any shooting will meet a response, in order to restore quiet for the south soon” …. Discuss

President Obama appeared alongside Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in a visit to the West Bank Thursday, telling reporters that he is still committed to aiding in peace talks in the region. Though he said that he did not consider continued construction of Israeli settlements in the region to be “constructive” or “appropriate”, President Obama said he does not think the issue should be a precondition to a new round of peace negotiations. He also said that he believed a two-state solution is still possible. The issue of new Israeli settlements in the West Bank has been a major sticking point between the two sides. Also on Thursday, Palestinian militants fired a new round of rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel. Though a home was damaged, no one was injured in the attack … Discuss

As tensions and violence mounts between Israel and Gaza in the worst conflict in four years, how can Western observers understand and respond to this complicated conflict? Read More