Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday called for international protection for Palestinians against “extrajudicial killings” by Israeli security forces.
Addressing the UN Human Rights Council, Abbas asked the Security Council to “urgently… set up a special regime for international protection for the Palestinian people”.
Abbas warned that human rights abuses in the occupied territories, including east Jerusalem, were the worst since Israel was founded in 1948.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 64 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces across the territories since the start of the month as violence spread from confrontations around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in east Jerusalem. Eleven Israelis have been killed over the same period.
Abbas accused Israel of carrying out “extrajudicial killings against defenseless Palestinian civilians” and terrorizing the population as a “collective punishment”.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN’s human rights chief, said: “The violence between Palestinians and Israelis will draw us ever closer to a catastrophe if not stopped immediately.”
He added: “In the context of suspected attacks, several Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces, sometimes allegedly acting with disproportionate force, to the extent that extrajudicial killings are strongly suspected.”
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed the city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state.
In late 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by Israeli politician Ariel Sharon sparked the “Second Intifada” — a popular uprising against the occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.