UNITED NATIONS - Amid escalating Israeli attacks on Gaza, the UN Middle East envoy has said he was "gravely concerned" about any ground invasion of Gaza by Israel that would worsen a conflict that has already killed hundreds. "We are gravely concerned about that prospect because that would just mean another cycle of violence and a further escalation of the conflict. This must stop," UN envoy Robert Serry said while responding to questions during a session with UN correspondents in New York by video link from occupied Jerusalem. "With Israeli tanks on Gaza's border, it is absolutely imperative now that we find an immediate and lasting way out to avoid an even deeper and deadlier conflict," Serry added. The UN envoy said the future of the Middle East peace process, the stability of the region and the safety of ordinary people in the Gaza Strip have been seriously jeopardised by Hamas rocket attacks and the "excessiveness of Israel's response." "Much of Gaza's infrastructure has now been destroyed. The death and injury toll in Gaza continues to mount...", he said. Serry said if a ceasefire could be achieved, "new conditions on the ground" would be needed to prevent a return to the situation that existed before the Israeli attack. These should include a commitment by Hamas, which administers Gaza, to stop rocket attacks and arms smuggling, the permanent opening of crossing points into Gaza, and bringing Gaza back under the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank. Serry also restated his support for a mechanism to monitor any ceasefire, an idea that has been floated by both Israelis and Palestinians. He would not go into detail on how such a mechanism would work, but said the United Nations was willing to play a role. Security Council diplomats were working on the text of a resolution submitted on Wednesday by Arab states aimed at halting the Gaza violence. Western diplomats, especially the United States, said the original draft was unbalanced, stressing Israeli actions but only hinting vaguely at the Palestinian rocket attacks. Diplomats said the drafting work was expected to continue over the weekend and into next week, when senior Arab officials are due in New York to press the Arab case. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected on Sunday and ministers from Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and possibly elsewhere will arrive by Monday, diplomats and UN officials said. Egypt, which a senior Palestinian official said on Friday had begun contacts with Hamas on ways of restoring a ceasefire, has urged Arabs to compromise over the UN text. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on Thursday, "We should show some flexibility to convince others of our demands."