"When the Lord, your God, brings you into the land that you are entering to possess, and clears away many nations before you, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and stronger than you. And when the Lord, your God, delivers them before you and you defeat them, destroy them utterly. Make no covenant with them and show no mercy to them" (Deuteronomy 7:1-2).
Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has condemned Israel for using "excessive" force in the Gaza Strip and demanded a halt to its offensive after troops killed at least 96 people over four days, with more than 60 dead on Saturday alone.
At least a third of those killed have been children, according to medical sources in Gaza.
Addressing an emergency session of the security council in New York on Sunday, Ban also called on Palestinian fighters to stop firing rockets into Israel.
Ban said: "While recognising Israel's right to defend itself, I condemn the disproportionate and excessive use of force that has killed and injured so many civilians, including children ... I call on Israel to cease such attacks."
"I condemn Palestinian rocket attacks and call for the immediate cessation of such acts of terrorism."
However, there is no sign that the Israeli government is ready to call off an offensive that took troops deeper into Gaza on Saturday and in larger numbers than at any time since Israel ended a military occupation of Gaza in 2005.
Daniel Carmon, a senior Israeli diplomat, dismissed suggestions Israel was guilty of war crimes.
"Hamas bears sole responsibility for the violence," he told the security council.
Two Israeli soldiers died in a ground assault on Saturday, and an Israeli civilian was killed by a rocket in a border town on Wednesday.
Al Jazeera's John Terret, reporting from New York, said that members of the security council were discussing a draft resolution regarding the conflict in Gaza.
He said: "It does not look like the draft will be completed today - it may take two more days."
"The Libyan delegation representing the Palestinians have put forward a draft, and it is now subject to debate from the members."
But diplomats have reportedly said that the security council was unlikely to adopt a Libyan resolution that condemns Israel's killing of civilians, but makes no mention of Palestinian rocket fire.
Western diplomats say the Libyan resolution would not pass unless it was amended to condemn the Palestinian rocket attacks and dropped language suggesting Israel was guilty of terrorism.
The bloodshed in Gaza jeopardises US-backed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Ahmed Qurei, the chief Palestinian negotiator, called off a meeting scheduled for Monday with Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, Israeli officials said.
Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, accused Israel of "international terrorism", saying its assault on Gaza constitutes "more than a holocaust".
"It's very regrettable that what is happening is more than a holocaust," Abbas told reporters in Ramallah.
"Children who are barely five-months old are being bombed by the Israeli army."
"We tell the world to see with its own eyes and judge for itself what is happening and who is carrying out international terrorism."
Khaled Meshaal, the exiled Hamas leader living in Syria, denounced the Israeli attacks against Gaza's civilians as "the real holocaust".
Marwan Bishara, Al Jazeera's senior political analyst, said that "at best" Abbas could hope to get a security council resolution condemning the Israeli action.
"And as we know, Israel has ignored tens of UN security council resolutions over the last 40 years and hundreds of UN assembly resolutions - so this is going to be more talk and probably not much will come out of it in the end," he said.
On Sunday, witnesses said Israeli aircraft attacked the office of Ismail Haniya, the ousted Palestinian prime minister, in Gaza City. No casualties were reported.
Rana el-Hindi from Save the Children, speaking from inside the Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that children were suffering greatly from the Israeli bombardment.
"In the last three days at least 19 children have been killed ... it's a real concern for all organisations here," she said.
"Most of the time, when we go into the field and talk to the children about their fears and concerns, they are always afraid of a new [Israeli] invasion to the Gaza Strip - and obviously the current situation is just ... what they fear."
She said the number of children being hospitalised was increasing "day after day".
Eissam Younis, director of the Al Mizan Centre for Human Rights in Gaza, told Al Jazeera that the Israeli army was "intentionally and systematically targeting civilians" and criticised world powers for their muted response.
"Israel puts itself above the law because the international community is always silent," he said.
The main Israeli operation began before dawn on Saturday.
Israeli tanks, supported by helicopters, pushed into the town and refugee camp of Jabaliya in the northern Gaza Strip and continued the assault throughout the day.
More than 150 people were wounded in the operation, Dr Muawiya Hassanein, the head of Gaza's emergency services, said.
At least 16 of the Palestinians killed were fighters - including 13 from Hamas, two from Islamic Jihad and one from the Popular Resistance Committees.
Witnesses said many of the deaths in Jabaliya occurred as a result of gun battles between Palestinian fighters and Israeli soldiers.
Tariq Dardouna, a Palestinian resident trapped in his house in east Jabaliya, told Al Jazeera that Israeli forces were targeting civilians.
"The Israeli army opens fire at everything in our area, including children and houses. There are injured children bleeding inside their houses," Dardouna said.
Witnesses also reported clashes in the nearby Tufah neighbourhood in northern Gaza City.
The Israeli army confirmed its operations in northern Gaza, with the Israel Army Radio reporting that two Israeli soldiers were killed and five wounded in the fighting.
In Israel, six people were wounded, one of them seriously, by long-range rockets fired from the Gaza Strip on Saturday, the Israeli army said.
Fighters in Gaza fired over 40 rockets and mortars at southern Israel.
Eight of the missiles were long-range rockets that travelled as far as the seaside Israeli town of Ashkelon, some 11km north of the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian fighters have launched frequent volleys of rockets and mortars at Israeli communities near the Gaza border, though the missile attacks rarely cause injuries.
A news report from al Jazeera