Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday renewed his request to the European Union to send peacekeepers to the Middle East and to help him organize elections in the Palestinian territories, dpa reported.
"The time has come for the international community to bear its legal, political and moral responsibilities and provide it with adequate international protection," Abbas told the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
"I would like to stress again our request to send international forces in order to protect our people," he said.
The head of the Palestinian Authority also asked the EU to help it organize presidential and legislative elections - if and when they are held.
"I hope you will help us organize such elections and oversee them," Abbas told European lawmakers.
The EU sent election monitors to the Palestinian territories in 1996 and 2006. Organizing a new mission of this kind would be far less controversial than sending peacekeepers to the region, as EU officials have stressed that no peacekeeping mission can be deployed in the absence of a permanent truce and the consent of Israel
However, the EU has said it is willing to help monitor border crossings into the Gaza Strip.
While denouncing Israel's devastating offensive into the Gaza Strip, which he said had left more than 1,400 - mostly civilians - dead, about 5,000 injured and nearly 100,000 homeless, Abbas also condemned the launching of rockets by Hamas against Israeli territory.
"For years I have condemned the rockets and I am still condemning them. Rockets do not go in the direction of peace and stability in the region," Abbas said.
Abbas said he would continue to strive towards national reconciliation and the formation of a unity government and insisted that Hamas - which seized sole control of Gaza in 2007 - could be trusted with sticking to a truce.
"Hamas is capable of respecting a period of calm, whether it is part of a government or not," Abbas said.
The Palestinian leader also said Israel should be made accountable for the war crimes that it had committed in the Gaza Strip.
"Israel is not above international law," he said to the applause of European lawmakers.
European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said that while Europe was willing to help, Hamas should renounce terrorism and stop launching rocket attacks against Israel.
"We want to be a fair partner for the people in Palestine and the people in Israel," Poettering said.