GENEVA, MAY 25 -- Yasser Arafat, head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, today urged the U.N. Security Council to dispatch "international emergency forces" to protect Palestinians from what he called a "massacre" under Israeli occupation.

Arafat's appeal, in his first appearance before the United Nations' highest political authority, was the opening salvo in a debate aimed at producing a Security Council resolution in response to the latest explosion of violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"The Palestinian people expect your august body to shoulder its responsibilities in bringing an end to the Israeli occupation and in starting to adopt, forthwith, the necessary measures to protect the lives of the children, women and men of our Palestinian people and their properties under occupation," he declared in a 50-minute speech at the Palais des Nations.

The PLO chairman, who addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York in 1974 and in Geneva in 1988, was offered the Security Council forum as a gesture of international concern over bloodshed in the occupied territories since an Israeli gunman, described by Israeli authorities as "deranged," killed seven Palestinian workers last Sunday.

More than 16 Palestinians have been slain, most of them by Israeli security forces, in violence set off by the shooting in the last five days, among the bloodiest periods in the 2 1/2-year Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

Despite international outrage and expressions of concern from a broad range of leaders, including President Bush, Arafat's call for a U.N. emergency force appeared unlikely to be translated into a Security Council resolution.

In calling for an emergency force, Arafat appeared to go beyond a request for U.N. observers. But he did not draw a clear distinction between the two forces.

Secretary of State James A. Baker III said Wednesday that the administration "would be prepared to discuss the question of a U.N. observer team" at the Security Council session. But the State Department later indicated the United States is willing to consider only a temporary U.N. investigation or fact-finding team. As one of the Security Council's five permanent members, the United States holds veto power.

In Washington today, Baker told reporters his initial statement had been "misinterpreted." U.S. policy has long been "to oppose the concept of a permanent observer force or a permanent peace-keeping force in the {occupied} territories," he said. "The idea of . . . the {U.N.} secretary general sending one of his top aides to take a look at the situation and return is something quite different and something that has happened before."

The chief U.S. representative in Geneva, U.N. Ambassador Thomas Pickering, did not reiterate the U.S. position today, but U.S. officials indicated he may do so Saturday after other nations have taken stands. The chief Soviet delegate, Yuli Vorontsov, backed PLO and Arab demands for an international Middle East peace conference, but made no mention of Arafat's call for a U.N. emergency force or for sanctions against Israel.

The Israeli government repeatedly has said it would refuse to accept a U.N. observer force. Deputy Foreign Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who led the Israeli delegation here, reiterated that stand today, saying, "It requires the consent of all the parties, and we will not give that consent."

A resolution is expected to emerge after private diplomatic contacts during the next week or longer at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.N. officials said.

The Security Council convened here for two days to hear Arafat, whose ability to travel to New York was thrown into doubt by U.S. reluctance to issue him a visa.

In his address, Arafat also urged the Security Council to order Israel to stop new settlements in the occupied territories and "particularly in Arab Jerusalem." He called on Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar to name a special permanent envoy to promote Middle East peace and urged the Security Council to convene another special session to prepare for an international peace conference and "start adopting the necessary preparations" for imposing sanctions on Israel.

"It was not the insanity of an individual or his derangement, as the Israeli officials have claimed, that was responsible for the massacre of Black Sunday," he asserted. "The primary responsibility falls on the insanity and derangement of the whole system."

Arafat's address came on the eve of an Arab summit conference, to begin Monday in Baghdad, Iraq. The Bush administration has sought a moderate outcome in that summit, arguing that extreme stands by Israel or Arab nations make movement toward peace talks more difficult.

Arafat called for dispatching a U.N. force to protect Palestinian lives and property "with the purpose of ending completely the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land." He also urged extending deployment of the U.N. Truce Supervisory Organization monitoring the truce accord after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The Bush administration's willingness to consider a U.N. investigating team was viewed as an advance for Arafat and an indication of irritation within the U.S. government at Israeli tactics against Palestinian demonstrations and Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's refusal to accept U.S. proposals for peace talks.

A possible compromise was suggested by a statement by Netanyahu, the Israeli delegation leader. Netanyahu said that Israel in the past has accepted individual fact-finders named by the U.N. secretary general and would consider further suggestions along this line on a case-by-case basis.

Clovis Maksoud, the Arab League representative to the United Nations, insisted, however, that the PLO and its Arab supporters sought broader action. "The one point where there might be a difference between us and the American administration is that we want an ongoing operation that is capable of monitoring the occupation and the violations of the Israeli occupation authority," he said.