Abbas calls for 'international protection regime' for Palestinians

Geneva (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called Wednesday for the creation of a "special regime" for the protection of his people, as a wave of deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence showed no sign of abating.

Abbas called on the United Nations, "more urgently than any time before, to set up a special regime for international protection for the Palestinian people, immediately and urgently."

Accusing Israel of carrying out "extrajudicial killings", he called for the United Nations, and especially the Security Council, as well as member states to shoulder their responsibility.

"We need protection, and we look to you," he told a special meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on the escalating crisis.

"Protect us. Protect us. We need you," he said, warning that allowing the current situation to continue would "kill the last shred of hope for the two-state-solution-based peace."

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein also voiced alarm, warning that the deadly violence rocking Israel and the Palestinian territories was "dangerous in the extreme" and could lead to a "catastrophe".

The special one-hour meeting of the United Nations' top rights body was a rare event, with only a single precedent: when Chilean President Michelle Bachelet spoke to the council in 2007.

Clashes erupted in September as an increase in Jewish visitors to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound alarmed Palestinians, who fear Israel is seeking to change rules that forbid Jews from praying there.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denied such claims.

Clashes there spiralled into a wave of stabbings and shootings that have left nine Israelis dead since October 1. Fifty-nine Palestinians -- around half of them attackers -- and one Israeli Arab have also been killed.

And an Israeli Jew and an Eritrean have also been killed after being mistaken for attackers.

Abbas on Wednesday accused the Israelis of acting "as a state above international law," and said it has "recently stepped up its criminal practices to the point where it performed extrajudicial killings of defenceless Palestinian civilians, (and) detained their corpses, including children."

The surge in violence has prompted an intense diplomatic drive to douse tensions that many fear herald a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising, like those of 1987-93 and 2000-05, when thousands were killed in near-daily violence.

Abbas warned Wednesday that "it is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations."

"What is required is the ending of occupation," he said, insisting that was "the root" of the problems plaguing Palestinians and Israelis alike.

He called on the international community to help "stop these daily crimes committed against my people" and "protect Israel from itself."