Leaders of Arab and Muslim countries have condemned Saturday the "barbaric" actions Israeli forces Gaza, but refrained from announcing punitive economic and political measures against the Gaza Strip. against Israel, at war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The results of the joint Arab League-Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Riyadh highlighted regional divisions over how to respond to the conflict, amid fears of a conflagration in the region .
The summit took place against a backdrop of anger in the Middle East and beyond over Israel's bombing of the Gaza Strip, carried out in retaliation for the unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israeli soil on October 7.
This attack left around 1,200 dead on the Israeli side, mostly civilians, according to official Israeli figures, while the bombings on Gaza killed more than 11,000 people, the majority of them civilians, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health. .
The summit's final communiqué rejected Israel's arguments that it was acting in “self-defense” and demanded that the UN Security Council adopt a “binding” resolution to put an end to Israeli “aggression”.
He also rejected any future political solution to the conflict that would keep the Gaza Strip separate from the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Saudi Arabia “holds the (Israeli) occupation authorities responsible for crimes committed against the Palestinian people,” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman declared at the opening of the summit.
“We are certain that the only way to guarantee security, peace and stability in region is to end the occupation, siege and colonization,” he added.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raïssi, visiting Saudi Arabia for the first time since the rapprochement of the two countries, asked Islamic countries to designate the Israeli army as a “terrorist organization”.
He said also met the Saudi prince, the first contact at this level since the reestablishment in March of diplomatic relations between the two countries thanks to Chinese mediation.
– Regional differences –
< p>Algeria and Lebanon in particular have proposed to certain countries to sever economic and diplomatic ties with Israel and to stop supplying oil to this country and its allies, according to Arab diplomats. However, at least three countries including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which normalized relations with Israel in 2020, have rejected this proposal.
International humanitarian organizations have stepped up calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, where drinking water and medicine are sorely lacking.
Israel and its main ally, the United States, have so far rejected demands for a ceasefire.
Photo published on November 9, 2023 by the press service of the President of Uzbekistan showing Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi in Tashkent © Press Service of the President of Uzbekistan – Handout
“It is shameful that Western countries, who always speak about human rights and freedoms, remain silent in the face of the ongoing massacres in Palestine,” declared Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhane described international reactions to the war between Israel and Hamas as “double standards.” “I'm talking about countries that (…) turn a blind eye to Israel's failure to respect the basics of international law,” he said at a press conference.
The Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, for his part, stressed that Washington had “the greatest influence over Israel” and “bears (consequently) responsibility for the lack of a political solution” to the conflict.
Before the release of the final communiqué, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that the absence of punitive measures against Israel would make the summit “insignificant”.
Addressing the summit, Hamas notably demanded, in a statement, the “expulsion” of all Israeli ambassadors “from Arab and Muslim countries and the recall of all ambassadors from these countries.”
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, September 11, 2023 in New Delhi © AFP – Money SHARMA
Iran supports Hamas but also the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah and the Houthi rebels of Yemen, which raise fears of an extension of the conflict.
Exchanges of fire between Israel and Hezbollah are daily on the Israeli-Lebanese border, while the Houthis have claimed several drone and missile attacks against southern Israel.
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