Appeal to the UN: President Abbas seeks Palestinian protection

At least 166 Palestinians have been killed in six days.

Agencies July 14, 2014


As thousands fled their homes in Gaza following an Israeli warning on Sunday, President Mahmud Abbas prepared a UN appeal to place Palestinian territories under “international protection” due to the worsening violence in the region.

Abbas will present a letter to this effect to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Palestine Liberation Organisation  (PLO) said in a statement on Sunday.

At the same time, Israeli forces dropped leaflets into the town of Beit Lahiya near Gaza’s northern border with Israel. They read: “Those who fail to comply with the instructions to leave immediately will endanger their lives and the lives of their families. Beware.” The Israeli military told the residents of three of Beit Lahiya’s 10 neighbourhoods to get out of the town of 70,000 by midday on Sunday.

UN officials said some 4,000 people had fled south to eight schools run by the world body in Gaza City. A senior Israeli military officer, in a telephone briefing with foreign reporters, said Israel would “strike with might” in the Beit Lahiya area. He did not say if this would include an expansion of an air and naval offensive into a ground operation in the north of the narrow, densely populated Mediterranean enclave.

In addition to his plea for international protection, the Palestinian president also wants a commission of inquiry into Israel’s relentless air bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Abbas is “undertaking several steps and measures to deal with the horrific situation in Gaza,” senior Palestine Liberation Organisation member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement after a meeting of the PLO executive.

The Palestinian leader has asked Switzerland, the depository of the fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in wartime, to ask signatories to place sanctions on Israel which, as the occupying power, is responsible for the safety of civilians.

A Palestinian woman and a girl aged 3 were killed in Israeli air strikes early on Sunday, the Gaza Health Ministry said. Hours before, 17 people were killed when the house of Gaza’s police chief was bombed from the air - the single deadliest attack of Israel’s offensive. Palestinian officials originally said 18 were dead, but doctors later revised the figure. The health ministry said at least 166 Palestinians, including about 135 civilians - among them some 30 children, have been killed six days of warfare, and more than 1,000 have been wounded.

The Palestinians are seeking an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council “to deal with the grave conditions in Gaza and hold Israel to account for its violations of international law and international humanitarian law.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 14th, 2014.


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