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Date posted: January 08, 2009
By UN Security Council
Resolution 1860 (2009) Adopted by 14 in Favour, Abstention by United States;

January 8, 2009

The Security Council,

Recalling all of its relevant resolutions, including resolutions 242 (1967), 338 (1973), 1397 (2002), 1515 (2003) and 1850 (2008),

Stressing that the Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied in 1967 and will be a part of the Palestinian state,

Emphasizing the importance of the safety and well-being of all civilians,

Expressing grave concern at the escalation of violence and the deterioration of the situation, in particular the resulting heavy civilian casualties since the refusal to extend the period of calm; and emphasizing that the Palestinian and Israeli civilian populations must be protected,

Expressing grave concern also at the deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza,

Emphasising the need to ensure sustained and regular flow of goods and people through the Gaza crossings,

Recognising the vital role played by UNRWA in providing humanitarian and economic assistance within Gaza,

Recalling that a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means,

Reaffirming the right of all States in the region to live in peace within secure and internationally recognized borders,

1. Stresses the urgency of and calls for an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire, leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza;

2. Calls for the unimpeded provision and distribution throughout Gaza of humanitarian assistance, including of food, fuel and medical treatment;

3. Welcomes the initiatives aimed at creating and opening humanitarian corridors and other mechanisms for the sustained delivery of humanitarian aid;

4. Calls on Member States to support international efforts to alleviate the humanitarian and economic situation in Gaza, including through urgently needed additional contributions to UNRWA and through the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee;

5. Condemns all violence and hostilities directed against civilians and all acts of terrorism;

6. Calls upon Member States to intensify efforts to provide arrangements and guarantees in Gaza in order to sustain a durable ceasefire and calm, including to prevent illicit trafficking in arms and ammunition and to ensure the sustained re-opening of the crossing points on the basis of the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access between the Palestinian Authority and Israel; and in this regard, welcomes the Egyptian initiative, and other regional and international efforts that are under way;

7. Encourages tangible steps towards intra-Palestinian reconciliation including in support of mediation efforts of Egypt and the League of Arab States as expressed in the 26 November 2008 resolution, and consistent with Security Council resolution 1850 (2008) and other relevant resolutions;

8. Calls for renewed and urgent efforts by the parties and the international community to achieve a comprehensive peace based on the vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace with secure and recognized borders, as envisaged in Security Council resolution 1850 (2008), and recalls also the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative;

9. Welcomes the Quartet's consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009;

10. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

Immediately following the vote, Secretary-General Ban said, after two weeks of escalating violence and suffering in Gaza and southern Israel, he was heartened and relieved at the adoption of a resolution to end the tragic situation. The Council's action signaled the will of the international community and must be fully respected by the parties. He stressed, however, that more would be needed, and a political way forward was required to deliver long-term security and peace. "My visit to the region next week will focus on helping to ensure that the ceasefire is implemented, that urgent humanitarian assistance reaches those in need and encouraging the diplomatic efforts currently under way," he added.

Explaining the United States decision to abstain, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that, while her Government had agreed with the goals and objectives of the resolution: "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." Still, she said, the United States believed that, by adopting the resolution, the Council had provided a road map for a sustainable, durable peace in Gaza.

Riyad Al-Maliki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority, said that adoption of the resolution had been delayed several days, despite the deepening humanitarian crisis and heavy loss of lives of Palestinian civilians. Some 700 Palestinians had been killed and close to 3,000 had been wounded. Nevertheless, Israel must now end its war against the Palestinian people and withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip, he said. It must also lift the closure of borders and ensure humanitarian access to the people in need. "The violence must cease so that [.] we can rebuild what the brutal Israeli war machine had destroyed in Gaza," he declared.

Israeli Ambassador Gabriela Shalev told the Council that Israel had withdrawn from Gaza in 2005 hoping it would never have to return. However, after eight years of continuous rocket attacks by the Hamas terrorist organization, Hamas's refusal to extend the period of calm, and its smuggling of weapons during that period, Israel had been left with no choice but to act in self-defence. "Responsibility for the current hostilities lies squarely with Hamas," she said, adding that the international community must focus its attention on the cessation of Hamas' terrorist activities, including the total cessation of rocket fire and smuggling, in order to be durable and to allow the possibility of lasting peace.

David Miliband, Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, whose country sponsored the text, told the Council that statistics did not do justice to the situation in Gaza, "but the word 'crisis', which is sometimes overused, is wholly appropriate." His Government had been calling for an immediate ceasefire from the very beginning of the conflict and tonight, at last, the United Nations was speaking clearly with one voice. The job now was to turn the words of the resolution into a reality, he said.

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