Military offensive enters 14th day as Israeli jets and naval ships fire on targets while Palestinian militants continue rocket attacks
US abstains in security council vote on ceasefire resolution Link to this video
– US abstains as UN security council backs Israel-Gaza ceasefire resolution
– Few speak up for Palestinians in U.S. Congress
– Israel continues to bomb Gaza despite UN’s ceasefire call
– Olmert: Israel to Continue Gaza Offensive
– War in Gaza: Israel rejects UN ceasefire call
– UN ceasefire call goes unheeded
In case you want to know why the US abstained in the security council vote:
– Paul Craig Roberts: The American Puppet State
Israeli forces pressed on with their offensive in Gaza today despite a UN security council resolution calling for an “immediate” and “durable” ceasefire.
Seven Palestinians from one family, including an infant, were killed early today, the 14th day of the conflict in Gaza, when Israeli jets bombed a five-storey building in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza. There was heavy aerial bombing on the outskirts of Gaza City, and Israeli naval ships shelled Deir el-Balah, in central Gaza.
Palestinian militants continued to fire rockets into southern Israel. Four grad missiles landed near Be’er Sheva and other rockets were fired at Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ofakim, though there were no reports of injuries.
The security council vote on the resolution was passed 14 to 0, with the US abstaining. The resolution “stresses and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza”.
The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said the US “fully supports” the resolution but abstained “to see the outcomes of the Egyptian mediation” with Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza. Neither Israel nor Hamas were parties to the vote and it is not yet clear how quickly the conflict will stop.
Israel’s security cabinet was due to meet today and there were reportedly still differences between senior cabinet figures over whether to press on with the operation or to stop now.
The Israel Defence Forces (IDF), said it struck 50 sites in Gaza overnight, including rocket-launching sites, buildings storing weapons, Hamas “command buildings” and groups of armed fighters. “The IDF will continue its operations against all terrorists and those who support them,” it said in a statement early today.
The UN put the Palestinian death toll at 758, of whom it said 42% were women and children – 60 women and 257 children, according to figures from the Palestinian health ministry. There had been a dramatic increase in the number of deaths since Israel’s ground invasion began last Saturday night, it said. Around 3,100 Palestinians have been injured.
Among the dead in Gaza was a Ukrainian woman, Olvera al-Jarou, who was killed with her two-year-old son by an Israeli tank shell yesterday, east of Gaza City. She was married to a Palestinian doctor who had trained in the Ukraine and is the first foreign national to be killed in the latest offensive in Gaza.
Three Israeli soldiers were killed in fighting in Gaza yesterday in separate incidents, bringing the Israeli death toll to 13, of whom three were civilians.
“There is no safe space in the Gaza Strip – no safe haven, no bomb shelters, and the borders are closed and civilians have no place to flee,” said a report from the UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs. It said three quarters of Gaza’s 1.5 million people had now been without electricity since Sunday, and 800,000 Gazans had no running water.
The UN relief and works agency, by far the largest humanitarian agency in Gaza, suspended its operations yesterday, after Israeli forces opened fire on a UN-contracted convoy collecting food aid from the Erez crossing in north Gaza. One man was killed and two others injured. Later , a marked UN convoy of two armoured vehicles was hit by Israeli troops when they stopped to try to recover the dead body of a Palestinian UN staff member during a scheduled three-hour ceasefire.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has also protested against Israel’s military operations, describing the lack of medical access to the injured as “unacceptable”. One of its convoys came under Israeli fire yesterday, also during the scheduled three-hour pause in fighting.
Israel announced a two-day closure of the occupied West Bank, starting at midnight last night, apparently to prevent demonstrations during Friday prayers. Israel’s foreign ministry said it would lodge a protest over the firing of four rockets from southern Lebanon into the northern Israeli town of Nahariya yesterday, in which two Israelis were injured.
Israel said the rocket fire was a “gross violation” of the UN security council resolution that established a ceasefire between Israel and Lebanon after the 2006 war. “Israel views the Lebanese government as responsible for maintaining quiet in southern Lebanon and from it, as well as for preventing the smuggling of weapons into its territory,” the foreign ministry said.
Friday 9 January 2009 07.45 GMT
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
Source: The Guardian