Arab and Islamic leaders call for immediate ceasefire in Gaza at Saudi summit
The gathering, which occurred on Saturday, issued a stern rebuke of what they described as 'Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip,' labeling the actions of the Israeli government as war crimes and brutal, inhumane massacres, as per the summit's closing statement.
At a summit in Saudi Arabia, leaders from Arab and Islamic nations strongly urged for a cessation of hostilities in Gaza. They categorically dismissed the notion that Israel's actions against Palestinians could be defended as self-defense.
The gathering, which took place on Saturday, issued a stern rebuke of what they described as "Israeli aggression in the Gaza Strip," labeling the actions of the Israeli government as war crimes and brutal, inhumane massacres, according to the summit's closing statement.
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Moreover, the summit's participants advocated for lifting the blockade on Gaza, ensuring the flow of humanitarian assistance into the territory, and called for a stop to arms sales to Israel. These declarations were made following their meeting in Riyadh.
The summit's leaders called upon the UN Security Council to pass "a decisive and binding resolution" aimed at stopping Israel's "aggression" in Gaza.
Initially, the summit was anticipated to include only the 22 nations of the Arab League. However, the scope of the meeting was broadened to encompass the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a larger group comprising 57 countries, predominantly with Muslim majorities, which also includes the nations of the Arab League.
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Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting for Al Jazeera, noted that the effectiveness of the summit's resolutions is contingent on a unified stance among the participants, without which the outcomes would be ineffective.
"People do understand that the Israelis don’t really care about what is happening at this summit between the OIC and Arab League leaders. When you look at the communique you get a sense that the Arab and Muslim leaders do not have a mechanism to push a ceasefire and humanitarian corridor," Ahelbarra said.
"This summit was just for the sake of a semblance of unity … in the Arab and Muslim world. It’s a watered-down statement. Not all Arab leaders decided to attend this summit because of the huge differences and divisions among the key players of the summit. That’s why they put this vaguely worded statement for public consumption," he added.
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During his opening statement, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) urged for an immediate halt to military activities in Gaza and advocated for the release of all detainees and prisoners.
"This is a humanitarian catastrophe that has proved the failure of the international community and the UN Security Council to put an end to Israel’s gross violations of international humanitarian laws, and prove the dual standards adopted by the world," he said.
"We are certain the only cause for peace is the end of the Israeli occupation and illegal settlements, and restoration of the established rights of the Palestinian people and the establishment of the state on 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital," MBS added.
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Turkish President Erdogan stated that Israel was exacting retribution on the infants, children, and women of Gaza, while he reiterated his demand for an immediate cessation of hostilities.
"What is urgent in Gaza is not pauses for a few hours, rather we need a permanent ceasefire," he added. "We cannot put Hamas resisters defending their homeland in the same category as the occupiers."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas emphasized that in addition to the situation in Gaza, there has been an intensification of Israeli forces' incursions in the occupied West Bank. He appealed to the United States to intervene to stop "Israel’s aggression, the occupation, violation and desecration of our holy sites."
"No military and security solutions are acceptable as they have all failed. We categorically reject any efforts to displace our people from Gaza or the West Bank," Abbas stated.
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