UN official calls for int'l presence in Gaza

The chief of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees called on the international community Thursday to provide Gaza with a peacekeeping force or mission of observers, saying Gaza's 1.4 million people deserve protection. Karen AbuZayd, the commissioner general for UN Relief and Works Agency, said a permanent solution must be found for the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, perhaps by setting up a UN mission there. "It would be great to have an international presence, civilian, military, whatever," she said. Conditions in Gaza have reached a breaking point, AbuZayd said, as a result of the recent Israeli military offensive and blockade there since the kidnapping of IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Shalit on June 25.