GENEVA - Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called Wednesday for the creation of a “special regime” for the protection of his people, as a wave of deadly Israeli-Palestinian violence showed no sign of abating.

Abbas called on the United Nations, “more urgently than any time before, to set up a special regime for international protection for the Palestinian people, immediately and urgently.” Accusing Israel of carrying out “extrajudicial killings”, he called for the United Nations, and especially the Security Council, as well as member states to shoulder their responsibility.

Meanwhile, the United Nations warned Wednesday that a deadly surge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians was headed toward “catastrophe” as new knife attacks took place in the volatile West Bank. An Israeli woman was stabbed and moderately wounded in one such attack, while a Palestinian allegedly tried to stab an Israeli soldier and was shot dead in another, the police and army said. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the latest flare-up in violence in the six-decade-old conflict was “dangerous in the extreme”.

“The violence between Palestinians and the Israelis will draw us ever closer to a catastrophe if not stopped immediately,” he said during a meeting of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. World leaders desperately want to revive moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that last collapsed in April 2014, to avoid a deeper slide into violence that many fear could lead to a third Palestinian intifada.

But Abbas said Wednesday that “it is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations” and warned that a continuation of the current violence could “kill the last shred of hope for the two-state-solution-based peace.”

He called on the United Nations “to set up a special regime for international protection for the Palestinian people.”

Abbas accused Israel of “extrajudicial killings of defenceless Palestinian civilians, (and having) detained their corpses, including children.”

Withholding the bodies of attackers is one of a series of measures approved by the Israeli government to try to dissuade the attacks against Jews, which began in early October as tensions over the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem boiled over.

Palestinians have long feared Israelis are planning to change the rules governing the site that is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, and lies in a majority Palestinian area annexed by Israel in 1967.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denied seeking to allow Jews to pray at the compound, which they refer to as the Temple Mount.

Only Muslims are allowed to pray within the compound, while non-Muslims can visit but not pray there.

Hundreds of angry Palestinians demonstrated Tuesday night in Hebron to demand the return of “the bodies of martyrs” - youths behind the wave of unrest that has seen nine Israelis killed in knife attacks and shootings.

The West Bank city of Hebron has been a hotbed of the recent unrest, with near-daily clashes with Israeli police where protesters are often left with bullet wounds or dead.

Many of the youths behind the attacks are also from the city.

Palestinian organisations say the bodies of 25 attackers and an Israeli Arab have not been returned to families.

They are among 61 killed since October 1. Palestinian medics say some 2,000 Palestinians have been injured since the outbreak of violence.

“The terrorist’s family makes his funeral a show of support for terrorism and incitation to murder and we cannot allow it,” Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan said in mid-October when the measure was announced.

He said the bodies would be buried in cemeteries reserved for attackers, “as has been done in the past.”

The move infuriates Muslims who have strict religious rules on how burials should take place.

The Israelis “want to put pressure on us... they know that it is more than a red line for us: they execute them and then they try to crush our dignity,” said Jihad Irshaid, the father of 17-year-old Dania who was shot dead on Sunday while allegedly trying to stab soldiers.

Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Israel of a series of “unlawful killings of Palestinians using intentional lethal force without justification” in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.

After an intense diplomatic drive to defuse the tensions, Israel and Jordan - the custodian of the holy site - agreed Saturday to allow surveillance cameras at Al-Aqsa, but this has run into trouble as the two locked horns over the installation.

Further straining the situation, an Israeli Arab lawmaker on Wednesday visited the mosque compound, defying a ban by Netanyahu on visits by lawmakers and government ministers, to avoid provoking Muslim anger.

“Israel does not control who is banned from entering the mosque, and continues to change the status quo,” Basel Ghattas, a Christian member of the Israeli parliament for the Arab Joint List coalition, wrote on his Facebook account.

Netanyahu condemned the “provocative” move, saying he would “not let any Knesset member or minister ignite the Temple Mount”.

On Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said it was her “dream to see the Israeli flag flying” over the holy site, prompting Netanyahu to order government ministers to follow the party line.

“We need protection, and we look to you,” he told a special meeting of the UN Human Rights Council on the escalating crisis. “Protect us. Protect us. We need you,” he said, warning that allowing the current situation to continue would “kill the last shred of hope for the two-state-solution-based peace.” UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein also voiced alarm, warning that the deadly violence rocking Israel and the Palestinian territories was “dangerous in the extreme” and could lead to a “catastrophe”.

The special one-hour meeting of the United Nations’ top rights body was a rare event, with only a single precedent: when Chilean President Michelle Bachelet spoke to the council in 2007. Clashes erupted in September as an increase in Jewish visitors to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound alarmed Palestinians, who fear Israel is seeking to change rules that forbid Jews from praying there. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denied such claims.

Clashes there spiralled into a wave of stabbings and shootings that have left nine Israelis dead since October 1. Fifty-nine Palestinians - around half of them attackers - and one Israeli Arab have also been killed. And an Israeli Jew and an Eritrean have also been killed after being mistaken for attackers.

Abbas on Wednesday accused the Israelis of acting “as a state above international law,” and said it has “recently stepped up its criminal practices to the point where it performed extrajudicial killings of defenceless Palestinian civilians, (and) detained their corpses, including children.”

The surge in violence has prompted an intense diplomatic drive to douse tensions that many fear herald a third Palestinian intifada, or uprising, like those of 1987-93 and 2000-05, when thousands were killed in near-daily violence.

Abbas warned Wednesday that “it is no longer useful to waste time in negotiations.”

“What is required is the ending of occupation,” he said, insisting that was “the root” of the problems plaguing Palestinians and Israelis alike.

He called on the international community to help “stop these daily crimes committed against my people” and “protect Israel from itself.”

Meanwhile, an Arab Israeli lawmaker said he entered Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound Wednesday despite a ban on visits by members of parliament to the site at the heart of a wave of deadly violence.

Basel Ghattas, a Christian member of the Israeli parliament for the Arab Joint List coalition, said on his Facebook page that he visited the site to send a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“This morning I entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque in spite of Netanyahu,” Ghattas said.

“Israel does not control who is banned from entering the mosque, and continues to change the status quo.”

Ghattas posted photos and a video appearing to show him on Wednesday in and around the mosque complex, which is the third-holiest site in Islam and the most sacred for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.

Netanyahu banned all members of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, and ministers from entering the compound earlier this month in a bid to ease tensions that have seen nine Israelis killed by Palestinians in three weeks of knife attacks and shootings.

The ban appeared mainly to target Jewish members of government whose visits to the site are seen as provocation by Palestinians.

Fifty-nine Palestinians and one Arab Israeli have also been killed.

Some of them were shot dead by Israeli police while carrying out attacks, but others have been killed by security forces while taking part in protests.

Muslims accuse Israel of seeking to change rules governing the site and to allow Jews to pray there.

Only Muslims are allowed to pray within the compound, while non-Muslims can visit but not pray there.

Netanyahu has repeatedly denied plans to change the status quo.

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s minister of internal security, slammed Ghattas’s visit in a message on his Twitter account.

“The vile provocation of the deputy Basel Ghattas only highlights his inadequacy as a representative of the public. His initiative could incite violence and lead to death,” he wrote.

The visit is only the latest in a series of events straining efforts to douse tensions over Al-Aqsa.

On Tuesday, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely stoked Palestinian fears by saying it was her “dream to see the Israeli flag flying” over the holy site in annexed east Jerusalem.

Netanyahu’s office reacted swiftly with a statement recalling his promise to maintain the status quo and ordering members of his government to “act accordingly.”

Arab Israelis are the descendants of Palestinians who remained on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948, and are citizens of the Jewish state.

The Joint List is a coalition of four Arab Israeli parties which hold 13 seats in the 120-seat Knesset.