The white house announced on Wednesday that the US president George Bush called the Egyptian president Husni Mubarak and thanked him for Egypt's "positive role" during the past few days of the war on the Gaza Strip.

White house spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, also said that Bush called the PA president Mahnoud Abbas and the premier of his illegitimate government Salam Fayyad and emphasized the need for a lasting cease-fire.

"President Bush and the two Palestinian leaders discussed their efforts for a sustainable cease-fire. They agreed that for any cease-fire to be effective, it must be respected, particularly by Hamas," Johndroe said.

Bush, who is leaving the white house in three weeks, has not made any statement about the Israeli onslaught against the Gaza Strip.

The Washington Post quoted a US administration official as saying that Israel chose to attack at this time to utilise the remaining days for president Bush in office.