State Department officials say Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is traveling to New York Tuesday to meet with Arab ministers and lobby for a US-backed cease-fire plan for Gaza.
Rice is also expected to represent the Bush administration during a UN Security Council meeting on efforts to bring an end to the Israeli army's occupation of the Gaza strip and the deluge of missiles launched by Hamas at Israeli towns.
According to State officials, Rice will meet with several foreign ministers from Arab states to push a three-pronged US strategy to curb rocket attacks, halt the fighting and secure border crossings.
More than 500 Palestinians, including at least 100 civilians, have been killed in the fighting and during Israeli bombing runs. Hamas rockets and combat inside Gaza have killed at least nine Israelis.