US demand to withdraw Israeli troops from Gaza

The United States on Tuesday vetoed an Arab-backed resolution demanding an immediate end to military operations in the northern Gaza Strip and the withdrawal of Israeli forces.

The vote in the 15-member Security Council was 11 in favor and one against, with Britain, Germany and &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Romania abstaining.

U.S. Ambassador John Danforth cast the U.S. veto after British and German efforts to find compromise language failed.

"Once again, the resolution is lopsided and unbalanced," Danforth told the council just before voting "no."

"It is dangerously disingenuous because of its many material omissions. Because of this lack of balance, because of these omissions the resolution lacks credibility and deserves a 'no' vote," he said, says USA Today.

Meanwhile, Powell claimed that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had found a need to respond to Palestinian rocket attacks, saying he hoped that "whatever he (&to=http:// ' target=_blank>Sharon) does is proportionate to the threat that Israel is facing."

In the past six days, heavily armed Israeli troops swept through the northern part of the Gaza Strip, having killed at least 83 Palestinians, including 20 children under the age of 18, and injured more than 350 others, according to Palestinian UN Observer Nasser Al-Kidwa.

The US State Department called on Israel to limit its retaliation to a proportionate use of force, but insisted that Israel has right to defend itself, Xinhua informed.

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