Israel Spurns UN Ceasefire Resolution

Israel rejected Friday, January 9, a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, vowing more attacks in the bombed-out strip.

"Israel has never agreed for any outside influence to decide on its right to defend its citizens," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a statement cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will continue to operate in order to defend the citizens of Israel and will carry out the task it was given for the operation."

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that Israel will pursue the Gaza blitz to defend its interests.

"Israel has acted, is acting, and will continue to act only according to its calculations, in the interest of the security of its citizens and its right to self defense," she said.

The UN Security Council late Thursday adopted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Passed by 14 votes, the resolution calls for an "immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire", and for Israel to withdraw from Gaza.

The resolution, pressed for by Arab countries in the face of efforts by Britain, France and the United States for a more muted statement, condemns "all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism."

It urges member states to intensify efforts for arrangements and guarantees in Gaza "to sustain a durable ceasefire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition and to ensure the reopening of the crossing points (into Gaza)."

The British-drafted resolution also calls for the unimpeded provision humanitarian assistance to Gaza, including food, fuel and medical treatment.

It welcomes initiatives aimed at "creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid."

The United States, Israel’s chief ally, abstained.


Israeli troops continued to batter Gaza Strip with bombs and shells early Friday.

Six family members were killed when tanks shelled a house in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

Residents said that Israeli warplanes also pounded the outskirts of Gaza City.

An army spokesman said that the Israeli air force hit at least 50 targets across the bombed-out strip.

The Israeli navy also staged artillery attacks on central Gaza.

Nearly 800 Palestinians have been killed and more than 3,100 wounded in a two-week Israeli offensive in Gaza.

The UN said Friday that Israeli troops shelled a Gaza house crowded with Palestinian civilians.

"According to several testimonies, on 4 January Israeli foot soldiers evacuated approximately 110 Palestinians into a single-residence house in Zeitun (half of whom were children) warning them to stay indoors," said a UN report.

"Twenty-four hours later, Israeli forces shelled the home repeatedly, killing approximately 30."

The Israeli army said it had no knowledge of such an incident but was investigating.

Meysa Fawzi al Samuni, 19, said Israeli soldiers forced her and dozens of others to move into the warehouse-like home of another resident.

Two men who left the house to pick up a relative were struck by "a missile or a shell," she was quoted by the Israeli B’Tselem human rights group.

"My husband went over to them to help, and then a shell or missile was fired onto the roof of the warehouse. Based on the intensity of the strike, I think it was a missile from an F-16.

"After the smoke and dust cleared a bit, I looked around and saw 20-30 people who were dead, and about 20 who were wounded," said the mother of a small baby.

"As far as I know, the dead and wounded who were under the ruins are still there."

( and Agencies)

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