Israel ended its 3-week assault on Gaza today by enacting a unilateral ceasefire that Hamas has vowed to ignore, Reuters reports. Israeli leaders voted today to halt the offensive, which has killed nearly 1,200 people and incited strong reactions worldwide, MSNBC reports. “Goals have been achieved and even more,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a televised address after the vote.
Israeli forces plan to occupy Gaza, but Hamas has rejected the ceasefire, calling for a complete withdrawal and reopened border crossings. Defense Minister Tzipi Livni warned that "this campaign is not a one-time event. The test will be the day after.” The news follows the signing of a “memorandum of understanding" in which Washington promised to help Israel and Egypt end arms smuggling into Gaza.