Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (R) delivers a note to Robert Serry (L), the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, condemning the Israeli assault on Gaza in Ramallah, yesterday. Photo: AFP
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is to ask the United Nations to put the state of Palestine under "international protection" in light of the worsening violence in the Gaza Strip, the PLO said yesterday.
"President Abbas will present a letter to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to officially put the State of Palestine under the UN international protection system and to form a legal committee for immediate follow-up," it said in a statement.
Abbas also wants a commission of inquiry into Israel's massive air bombardment of the Gaza Strip in an attempt to halt militant rocket fire into the Jewish state.
"Palestinian president Mahmud 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.
Abbas has asked Switzerland, the depository of the fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in wartime, to summon the contracting parties and ask them to place sanctions on Israel as the occupying power responsible under the convention for the safety of civilians.
Its recognition by the UN as a non-member state has allowed Palestine to sign several international conventions, including the Geneva Conventions.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge before dawn on Tuesday in an attempt to halt cross-border rocket fire by militant groups in Gaza, with the overall Palestinian death toll rising to 166 by yesterday with more than 1,000 wounded.