Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas delivered on Sunday a message to the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting international protection for the Palestinians against Israel, which has launched a wide-scale military offensive in the Gaza Strip that left scores of Palestinians dead in less than a week.
"This is the first of several decisions by the Palestinian Authority to be announced shortly," Abbas said in a speech as he delivered a message to the U.N. Representative in the Palestinian Territories Robert Serry.
Abbas said his letter requested protection for the Palestinian people against a weeks-long campaign by Israel in the Palestinian territories which intensified since late Monday with the beginning of an air offensive against the besieged Gaza Strip.
"Our patience has run out," Abbas said. "Israel's aggression against the Palestinian people must stopp."
Earlier on Sunday, a statement by the Ramallah-based Palestine Liberation Organization said that Abbas ordered the Palestinian Foreign Ministry to contact Arab foreign ministers at an upcoming Arab League meeting to support his request for international protection and push international actors to work towards a ceasefire.
Last week, Israel has launched a military offensive - dubbed "Operation Protective Edge" - against the Gaza Strip with the stated aim of ending rocket fire from the enclave.
At least 166 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes since late Monday.
Gaza-based resistance factions, for their part, have continued to fire hundreds of rockets into Israel, some of which have reached Tel Aviv, in response to the ongoing offensive.
No Israeli fatalities have been reported thus far.