Hady Amr, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, will take part in talks with the two countries and UN officials in the hope of agreeing on a ceasefire, the BBC reported.

On Saturday Israeli fighter jets hit several targets in Gaza killing at least 12 Palestinians.

Health officials in Gaza said a woman and her three children were among the dead after their house was hit in a refugee camp.

Israel targeted Gaza when Palestinian militants fired “non-stop” rockets following a day of violence rocked the West Bank.

Local media said one rocket hit a fuel depot in southern Israel.

“This won’t go unanswered,” the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) said.

On Friday clashes in the West Bank resulted in the deaths of 11 Palestinians including women and children, were killed while hundreds were left injured.

Rubber bullets, live fire and teargas were used by Israeli forces and Palestinians threw petrol bombs.

Mr Amr’s arrival comes ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Sunday.

The US embassy in Israel said the aim of his trip was to “reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm.”

Appeals to Israeli and Palestinian leaders have so far failed to produce a ceasefire agreement.

In a public statement last week Joe Biden said he believed it was Israel’s right to defend itself in light of Palestinian rocket fire.

“My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory,” Mr Biden said.

He added that his national security and defence staff have been in “constant contact” with Israel and other nations in the region.  

The clashes recorded in the last week is the worst violence the region has seen in seven years.

At least 133 people have been killed in Gaza and eight have died in Israel since the fighting began on Monday.

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