Washington's top diplomat flew into Tel Aviv Wednesday, defying a US flight ban, to try to broker an end to violence in Gaza, which has killed hundreds and hobbled Israel's main airport.
Secretary of State John Kerry jetted in from Cairo to Ben Gurion airport, with reporters banned from reporting the trip until his custom Boeing 757 touched down.
Major airlines blocked flights to Israel July 23 after a rocket from Gaza struck near airport runways, as the U.N. chief urged an end to a conflict that has killed 636 Palestinians and 31 Israelis.
As the violence entered its 16th day, neither Israel or Hamas appeared willing to end hostilities, despite days of diplomatic efforts to coax them into a truce.
At least 512 Palestinians have died and more than 3000 have been injured since the start of Israel's offensive in the Gaza strip earlier in July.
The data from Hamas-controlled Gaza's Health Ministry came as the UN Security Council urged a ceasefire between the Israeli army and Palestinian militants.
Israel advised its citizens on July 19 not to travel to Turkey, citing "the public mood" after heated protests there against Israel's ground offensive into Gaza.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem said Israelis should "avoid non-essential visits" to Turkey - once Israel's closest regional ally - or be especially vigilant and steer clear of anti-Israel demonstrations.
With less than a month to go to the presidential polls, one has every right to evaluate the statements, policies and positions of any contender â on either internal or external issues â through the prism of the upcoming elections.