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      Security Cabinet Votes to Continue Operation Cast Lead

      The Security Cabinet voted Friday to continue Operation Cast Lead despite a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 1/9/2009, 2:10 PM

      Israel News Photo: Flash 90

      The Security Cabinet voted Friday to continue Operation Cast Lead in Gaza despite a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire.

      "The State of Israel has never agreed that any outside body would determine its right to defend the security of its citizens," read a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office immediately following the meeting.

      "The IDF will continue operations in order to defend Israeli citizens and will carry out the missions with which it has been assigned in the operation. This morning's rocket fire against residents of the south only proves that the UN Security Council Resolution #1860 is not practical and will not be honored in actual fact by the Palestinian murder organizations."

      Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Center Opens
      Parallel to the decision was the opening this week of a Humanitarian Affairs Coordination Center (HACC) in Tel Aviv.

      The center is meant to coordinate between the different organizations operating in the field and those of the IDF, according to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit. Its main focus is to expedite evacuation of foreign nationals from Gaza and coordinate the flow of food, fuel and supplies of goods to the humanitarian groups in the field. Hundreds of foreign nationals have been evacuated from Gaza since Operation Cast Lead began.

      Organizations represented at the center include the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), USAID, World Food Program (WFP), the European Commission, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East (UNSCO), United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Representatives from Israeli governmental agencies and various IDF departments are also located at the center.

      3-Hour Humanitarian Ceasefire
      After several scheduling changes, a three-hour humanitarian ceasefire was established to begin in Gaza at 1:00 p.m., lasting until 4:00 p.m.

      On Thursday, Hamas terrorists did not respect the ceasefire and continued to fire rockets at southern Israel and attack Israeli soldiers in Gaza, despite the IDF ceasefire in the region.

      The daily three-hour period of "quiet" is intended to allow Gaza residents to stock up on free supplies of medicines, basic food commodities and other items provided by international humanitarian aid organizations.