Abbas Declares 'Humanitarian Disaster' in Gaza, Urges UN to Provide Relief

The Palestinian president accuses Israel of depriving Gazans of the right to life, asks the international community to step in.

AP

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday that Gaza has become a "humanitarian disaster area" and urged the international community to take responsibility for the crisis and provide aid to the battered enclave.

In a letter sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Abbas called on the international body to establish a buffer zone designated toward aiding hundreds of thousands of displaced Gaza residents.

"I call for the use of all tools available within the United Nations to provide relief and help to the Palestinian people during this grave humanitarian crisis," Abbas said in the letter, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa.

The PA leader also accused Israel of committing war crimes and depriving the Palestinian people of the right to life, and asked the international community to step in and protect the residents of Gaza.

Meanwhile, Abbas continued talks with Egypt, the U.S. and other countries, as well as Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, to draft a cease-fire proposal that would stop the fighting in Gaza and launch negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian factions.