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Civilian casualties rise in Gaza, Israel conflict




Relatives and friends of al-Hajj family mourn as they gather in a mosque to pray over the bodies of the eight family members during their funeral in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 10, 2014. Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza relentlessly, causing a growing number of civilian casualties, as the UN Security Council was to meet urgently over Israel's spiralling confrontation with Hamas.
Relatives and friends of al-Hajj family mourn as they gather in a mosque to pray over the bodies of the eight family members during their funeral in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on July 10, 2014. Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza relentlessly, causing a growing number of civilian casualties, as the UN Security Council was to meet urgently over Israel's spiralling confrontation with Hamas.
SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images

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Today President Obama called for an immediate cease fire as casualties mount after two weeks of conflict in Gaza and Israel.

More than 500 Palestinians have died so far, many of them civilians. The Israelis have lost 18 soldiers and two civilians, including Max Steinberg, a volunteer in the Israeli Defense Force from Southern California.

While the President reiterated that Israel has a right to defend itself from rockets attacks and tunnel infiltrations conducted by the Islamist group Hamas, he called for an immediate end to the fighting to "stop the deaths of innocent civilians both in Gaza and in Israel. "

For more, we're joined by Thomas Hill who teaches Middle Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley.