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No backing down by Hamas, Israel

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Israel's prime minister says the offensive is meant to protect the citizens of Israel. (Source: CNN) Israel's prime minister says the offensive is meant to protect the citizens of Israel. (Source: CNN)
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(CNN) - Tensions are running high in the Middle East.

The November 2012 cease-fire agreement between Israel and Gaza nullified after the deaths of four teenagers, catapulting the region back into conflict.

Hostilities between Israel and Gaza have escalated again following the killings of three Israeli teenagers and one Palestinian teenager in the last several weeks.

The U.S. Security Council called for a cease-fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants on Saturday. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated the international community will not influence his actions.

He says Israel is "...considering all options and getting ready for every possible scenario... Hamas keeps attacking us, and therefore we are fighting them back."

According to Palestinian officials the death toll from Israel's airstrikes on Gaza is more than 100 people, with nearly 1,000 wounded.

So far, no Israelis have been killed by the militants' rockets from Gaza.

Many of them have been intercepted by the Israeli Defense Force Iron Dome system. 

Both sides say they're trying to protect their people, and they want the fighting to end. But neither is willing to be the first to back down.

"The Palestinians are not willing to have the fight, but if there was no chances to have peace, they will fight for their dignity, their freedom, their independence and their independent sovereign state,” said Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman.

"Our goal is to bring peace and quiet to the Israel's citizens. They don't have to live in fear of the rockets coming from Gaza. Too many rockets, hundreds over the last few weeks. It has to stop," said Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman.

The United States has historically sided with Israel during Middle Eastern conflicts.

President Obama spoke with Netanyahu over the phone earlier this week. And while he reiterated the United States' condemnation of attacks against Israel, he also emphasized the need for all sides to protect civilians and restore calm.

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