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U.N. Envoy Pushes Peace in Talks with Israel

In Jerusalem, talks are under way between United Nations and Israeli officials on the possibility of a cease-fire in the weeklong violence between Israel and Lebanon-based Hezbollah. U.S. Marines helped Americans evacuate the region between Israel and Lebanon.

Still, the casualties continued to mount on both sides of the border.

At least 30 Lebanese were killed in Israeli airstrikes today. Nine of those were in one family. One Israeli died when Hezbollah guerillas fired rockets at northern Israel.

U.N. envoy Terje Larsen said he has had a promising start in his peace efforts, which began Monday in Lebanon and continued today in Israel. He called the talks "good and intensive and productive."

Israeli foreign minister Tzippi Livni did not outright refuse a cease-fire. But Israel's generals have made it clear they are in no rush to end the military campaign. And Livni said that Israel has a list of demands that must be met before Israel's bombardment of Lebanon will stop.

Israeli officials acknowledge they are starting to feel the diplomatic pressure for a cease-fire.

That pressure is likely to grow as the death toll among Lebanese civilians continues to mount. Military commanders may want a few more weeks to act in Lebanon. But Israeli officials say it's more likely they will have only a few more days.

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Linda Gradstein
Linda Gradstein has been the Israel correspondent for NPR since 1990. She is a member of the team that received the Overseas Press Club award for her coverage of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the team that received Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism for her coverage of the Gulf War. Linda spent 1998-9 as a Knight Journalist Fellow at Stanford University.