Israel's siege of the Gaza Strip is pushing Palestinians toward starvation, a close aide of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Thursday. Nabil Shaath, who is visiting Indonesia as a special envoy for Abbas, said Gaza needed humanitarian assistance and appealed to the international community to help end Israel's siege. "The (Indonesian) president expressed concerns for the grave situation of the Palestinians, particularly in Gaza as a result of the Israeli siege and a result of pushing the people toward starvation," Shaath said after talks with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Shaath told reporters that Yudhoyono expressed his full support for Palestinian unity and the nation's struggle to end Israeli occupation. Gaza has been under the control of the Islamist movement Hamas since they routed fighters from Abbas's Fatah faction in a brief civil war in June. Crossings into Gaza from Israel and Egypt were closed to most traffic after the Hamas takeover of the enclave of 1.5 million people, resulting in shortages of food and other essentials. More...
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