Ramallah (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is to ask the United Nations to put the state of Palestine under "international protection" due to the worsening violence in Gaza, the PLO said Sunday.
Abbas would present a letter to this effect to the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, it said in a statement.
UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq confirmed receipt of the letter.
"We ... will need to study it before responding further," Haq said in a short statement in New York.
The Palestine Liberation Movement said Abbas also wants a commission of inquiry into Israel's relentless air bombardment of the Gaza Strip aimed at halting militant rocket fire into the Jewish state.
Abbas is "undertaking several steps and measures to deal with the horrific situation in Gaza," senior PLO member Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement after a meeting of the PLO executive.
Abbas has asked Switzerland, the depository of the fourth Geneva Convention on the protection of civilians in wartime, to ask signatories to place sanctions on Israel which, as the occupying power, is responsible for the safety of civilians.
Its recognition by the UN as a non-member state has allowed Palestine to sign several international conventions, including the Geneva Conventions.
Israel launched Operation Protective Edge before dawn on Tuesday in an attempt to halt cross-border rocket fire by militant groups in Gaza, with the overall Palestinian death toll rising to 166 by Sunday with more than 1,000 wounded.
Ashrawi said that when Arab League foreign ministers meet in Cairo on Monday to discuss the Gaza crisis Palestine would ask them to "adopt a draft resolution at the ministerial level" to be presented to the UN Security Council.
The Palestinians would also seek an emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council "to deal with the grave conditions in Gaza and hold Israel to account for its violations of international law and international humanitarian law."