The Palestinian representative to the Arab League, Muhammad Subaih, said permanent delegates would meet in Cairo on Sunday - at the request of his country - to "discuss the savage and continuing Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in all cities, villages and refugee camps".

They will aim to "prepare an urgent Arab political and diplomatic action plan at the international level aimed at stopping the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, particularly in the Gaza Strip, and to work toward the dispatch of international protection and peacekeeping forces to the occupied Palestinian territories".

Subaih went on to denounce the international community for sending troops to other regions such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and western Sudan's Darfur "while keeping quiet about war crimes and genocide carried out daily by Israel against the Palestinian people".

Condemnation of Israel

The league's secretary-general, Amr Musa, repeated his condemnation of the Israeli invasion, saying the "complete silence of the quartet on Israeli crimes is a great shortcoming in its attitude to the Middle East peace process".

The quartet - the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States - jointly drafted the Middle East road map peace initiative, which is now seen by analysts to be teetering on the verge of collapse.

Fifty-six Palestinians, including many civilians, have been killed since Israeli forces launched their Gaza offensive.