French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Wednesday for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas to end violence in the Gaza Strip which Palestinian sources say have left nearly 600 Palestinians dead.

Close to 30 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have been killed as Israel battles to stop Hamas rocket fire, thwart attack tunnels and weaken the Islamist group’s ability to launch attacks from the Strip.

“In Israel and in Gaza, the situation is very hard,” Fabius said as he arrived for a meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

“Nothing justifies continued attacks and massacres which do nothing but only claim more victims and stoke tensions, hatred,” he said.

“France will act forcefully to demand an immediate ceasefire,” he added.

Fabius met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend to discuss the situation in Gaza.

French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that everything should be down to bring a halt to the fighting, now entering a third week.

World powers have urged Hamas to accept an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire and stop raining rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip, demands it has so far resisted.