Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appealed to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for “international protection” for the Palestinian people.
Abbas made the appeal in a letter handed to Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Process, in Ramallah.
“We ask for international protection for the Palestinian territories and the Palestinian people. Israel has crossed the line. It must stop its aggressive acts towards the Palestinian people,” said Abbas.
Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister, talked to reporters before a meeting in Vienna. He spoke of a “dangerous situation.”
“In Gaza, just like in Israel, the absolute priority is for a ceasefire,” said Fabius. Refering to a 2012 ceasefire accord between Israel and Palestinian factions, he added, “France, like the United Nations Security Council, asks for a return to the agreement of 2012.”
Meanwhile, thousands of pro-Palestinian supporters in Australia and Afghanistan have rallied against Israel’s action in the Gaza Strip.
In Sydney, demonstrators shouted “Shame, shame, Israel! Shame, shame, USA!” and waved signs reading “Save Gaza End Israeli occupation.”
Another rally was held in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, where protesters burned an effigy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and shouted “Death to Israel” and “Death to America.”
So far the Israeli campaign has left over 160 Palestinians dead.
Critics say Israel’s heavy bombardment of one of the most densely populated territories in the world is itself the main factor putting civilians at risk.