Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called for “international protection” for his people as the death toll in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories continues to rise.
While addressing a special meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Wednesday, Abbas called for the creation of a “special regime for international protection for the Palestinian people, immediately and urgently”.
Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians were sparked last month by Israeli incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site for Muslims.
The human rights situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories is “the worst and most critical since 1948”, Abbas said, referring to the establishment of Israel and displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
Israeli forces have responded harshly to the growing unrest, using live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas and sound grenades.
Since October 1, Israeli forces or settlers have killed 64 Palestinians – including unarmed protesters, bystanders and alleged attackers – across Israel, the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
Nine Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in stabbing or shooting incidents.
“It is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations for the sake of negotiations. What is required is the end of the occupation in accordance with international legitimacy,” the president said.
Accusing Israel of “extrajudicial killings” and calling for an end to its ongoing occupation, Abbas told the UN council: “Protect us. Protect us. We need you.”
Abbas also blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his recent comments attributing the idea for the Holocaust to the Mufti Hajj Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Muslim cleric who had ties to the Nazi regime in Germany during World War II.
Speaking to the World Zionist Congress, Netanyahu said: “Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time, he wanted to expel the Jews” and that the mufti subsequently convinced him.
Netanyahu subsequently received a wave of online criticism and ridicule.
Abbas on Wednesday decried Netanyahu’s claim, saying: “He prefers to blame Palestinians for everything – even the Holocaust. You all know that this is totally false. It is untrue and baseless.
“When the Israeli prime minister tries to absolve Adolf Hitler from his ugly crimes, against the Jews, and blame Palestinians for these crimes, he is trying thereby to justify the crimes committed against the Palestinian people.”
PALESTINIAN SUSPECT KILLED
In the southern West Bank city of Hebron, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian during an alleged stabbing attack against an Israeli near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba on Wednesday afternoon.
Writing on Twitter, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that the suspect was “shot and killed”.
In a separate incident, a Palestinian was “captured at [the] scene” after stabbing an Israeli woman in the nearby Gush Etzion settlement, according to the spokesman.
Local media said the woman was in a moderate condition.
More than 550,000 Israelis live in heavily guarded Jewish-only settlements across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, according to the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
As tensions continue to rise, rights groups have slammed Israel for its harsh measures as it continues to crack down on Palestinians.
On Wednesday, Amnesty International’s Philip Luther said that Israeli forces “have ripped up the rule book” and implemented “extreme and unlawful measures”.
“Intentional lethal force should only be used when absolutely necessary to protect life,” Luther said.
“Instead, we are increasingly seeing Israeli forces recklessly flouting international standards by shooting-to-kill in situations where it is completely unjustified.” Al Jazeera