Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas speaking at an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation in Riyadh. (AFP)
The Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit called for breaking the Israeli siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and allowing the immediate entry of Arab, Islamic, and international humanitarian aid convoys. It also urged international organisations to participate in this process.
The summit tasked the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Turkiye, Indonesia, and Nigeria, as well as any interested country and the OIC and League’s secretaries-general, to initiate immediate international action on behalf of all member states of the two blocs to stop the war on Gaza. The leaders pressed for a serious and real political process to achieve lasting and comprehensive peace in accordance with approved international references.
In the final communique issued at the end of the joint Arab-Islamic extraordinary summit hosted by Riyadh, the summit called on the UN Security Council to take decisive, binding action to halt Israeli aggression on Gaza. It also called for curbing the colonial occupation authority that violates international law, international humanitarian law, and international legitimacy resolutions. Failure to do so is considered complicity, allowing the Israeli entity to continue its brutal aggression, resulting in the killing of innocent people, children, the elderly, and women, and turning Gaza into ruin.
Countries were urged to stop exporting weapons and ammunition to the Israeli occupation, used by its army and terrorist settlers to kill Palestinian people and destroy their homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, and churches. The Security Council was also called upon to make an immediate decision condemning the barbaric Israeli occupation’s destruction of hospitals in the Gaza Strip. The Council was urged to prevent the entry of medicines, food, and energy and to cut electricity, water, and the Internet as a collective punishment, which constitutes a war crime in line with international law.
The final communique deplored the displacement of about 1.5mn Palestinians from the north of the Gaza Strip to its south, considering it a war crime in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and its annex of 1977. The states parties to the convention were called upon to take a collective decision condemning Israel for this step. Furthermore, all UN organisations were called upon to confront the attempt of colonial occupation authorities to normalise this inhuman and miserable reality. Emphasis was placed on the necessity of the immediate return of these displaced people to their homes and areas.
The final communique expressed complete and absolute rejection of any attempts at collective or individual forced displacement, exile, or deportation of the Palestinian people, whether inside the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, including Jerusalem. Such actions were considered a mistake and a war crime.
It condemned the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, the war crimes, and the barbaric and inhumane massacres committed by the colonial occupation government. This condemnation extended to the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The summit called for stopping it immediately, stressing the rejection of characterising this revenge war as self-defence or justifying it under any pretext.
The communique also condemned the killing and targeting of civilians as a principled position based on humanitarian values and consistent with international law and international humanitarian law. It stressed the need for the international community to take immediate and rapid steps to stop the killing and targeting of Palestinian civilians. This action should confirm that there is no difference at all between the life of one person and another or discrimination on the basis of nationality, race, or religion.
The summit stressed the rejection of any proposals that would establish the separation of Gaza from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. It emphasised that any future approach to Gaza must be in the context of working on a comprehensive solution. This solution should guarantee the unity of Gaza and the West Bank as the land of the Palestinian state. The state must be free, independent, and sovereign, with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the lines of June 4, 1967.
The Arab-Islamic Summit stressed support for the legal and political initiatives of the State of Palestine to hold the officials of the Israeli occupation authorities responsible for their crimes against the Palestinian people. This support included the advisory opinion process of the International Court of Justice and allowing the investigation committee established by the decision of the Human Rights Council to investigate these crimes without obstruction.
The final communique of the summit called for releasing all prisoners, detainees, and civilians, condemning the abhorrent crimes committed by the colonial occupation authorities against thousands of Palestinian prisoners. It called on all concerned countries and international organisations to put pressure to stop these crimes and prosecute their perpetrators.
The communique stressed the need to request the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to complete the investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people in all the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.
The leaders underscored the need for the international community to act immediately to launch a serious and real peace process. This process should impose peace on the basis of a two-state solution that meets all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people. This includes their right to establish their independent, sovereign state along the lines of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
They called for holding an international conference for peace as soon as possible. This conference should launch a reliable peace process based on international law, international legitimacy’s resolutions, and the principles of “Land for Peace.” This process should operate within a specific time framework and with international guarantees, leading to the end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. This includes East Jerusalem, the occupied Syrian Golan, Shebaa Farms, the Kafr Shuba hills, and the outskirts of the Lebanese town of Al-Mari, according to the communique.
The leaders stressed the need to enable international humanitarian organisations to play their role in providing humanitarian and relief aid to the Palestinian people. This includes UN organisations, especially the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Support for its efforts in this regard was also emphasised.
The communique called on member states of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and the League of Arab States to exert diplomatic, political, and legal pressure. This should be coupled with taking any deterrent measures to stop the crimes of the colonial occupation authorities against humanity.
In a related context, the final communique of the joint Arab-Islamic summit called for an end to the murders committed by the occupation forces and the terrorism and crimes of settlers in Palestinian villages, cities, and camps in the occupied West Bank. This extends to all attacks on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque and all Islamic and Christian sanctities.
It stressed the need for Israel to implement its obligations as the occupying power and to stop all illegal Israeli measures that perpetuate the occupation. This includes the construction and expansion of settlements, the confiscation of lands, and the displacement of Palestinians from their homes.
The communique condemned the military operations launched by the occupation forces against Palestinian cities and camps. It condemned settler terrorism and called on the international community to place their associations and organisations on international terrorism lists. This would enable the Palestinian people to have all the rights enjoyed by the rest of the peoples of the world, including human rights and the right to security and self-determination. This would embody the independence of their state on their land and provide an international protection mechanism for them.
The communique condemned the Israeli attacks on Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. It condemned Israel’s illegal measures that violate freedom of worship and emphasised the necessity of respecting the legal and historical status in the holy sites. It added that the Al-Aqsa Mosque, with its entire area of 144 thousand square metres, is a place of worship for Muslims only.
In addition, it condemned the acts and statements of extremist hatred and racism by ministers in the Israeli occupation government. This included the threat of one of these ministers to use nuclear weapons against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip. Such acts were considered a serious threat to international peace and security. This threat required the support of the conference to establish a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East. This should be done within the framework of the UN and its objectives to address this threat.
The summit deplored the killing of journalists, children, and women. It also deplored the targeting of paramedics, as well as the internationally banned white phosphorus bombs used by the Israeli occupation on the Gaza Strip and Lebanon.
It affirmed that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) is the only legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It called on all Palestinian factions and powers to unify under the umbrella of the PLO.
The summit tasked the OIC and the Arab League’s general secretariats to establish two media monitoring units. These units would document all crimes of the occupation authorities against the Palestinian people and digital media platforms that publish them. The goal is to expose their illegal and inhuman practices.
The communique reaffirmed adherence to peace as a strategic option to end the Israeli occupation and resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. This adherence should be in accordance with international law and relevant international legitimacy resolutions. It emphasised adherence to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative with all its elements and priorities. This initiative is the unified consensual Arab position and the basis of any efforts to revive peace in the Middle East. The prerequisite for peace with Israel and the establishment of normal relations with it is ending its occupation of all Palestinian and Arab lands. This embodies the independence of the independent and fully sovereign State of Palestine along the lines of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital. Additionally, it emphasises restoring the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination, the right of return, and compensation for Palestinian refugees. A just solution to their issue should be in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution No. 194 of 1948.