The UN Security Council has voted overwhelmingly to demand an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and a full Israeli withdrawal after a military campaign lasting nearly two weeks.
In all, 14 of the 15 Security Council members supported the resolution which also calls for arrangements to prevent the smuggling of arms to militants in Gaza, and for the ‘unimpeded provision’ of aid. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “Your decision signals the will of the international community. It must be fully respected by all parties to this conflict.” The US had backed its ally Israel in previous meetings. It abstained this time, although it said it supports the objectives of the text. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said: “The United States thought it important to see the outcomes of the Egyptian mediation efforts in order to see what this resolution might have been supporting.” The ceasefire demands emanating from New York faced some stiff competition to be heard in the Gaza Strip, battling against the sound of yet more Israeli ordnance.