A spontaneous Arab-Islamic summit commenced in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, on Saturday to address the “critical developments” unfolding in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian territories, as reported by Anadolu.
Leaders and delegates from the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are actively participating in the summit, coinciding with the ongoing Israeli bombardment in Gaza, now in its 36th day.
In the inaugural address, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman restated the kingdom’s call for an immediate cessation of Israeli “military operations” in Gaza. He emphasized the need to lift the siege on the enclave and establish secure humanitarian corridors. The Saudi crown prince reiterated the rejection of the “brutal war” against the Palestinian people and held the “occupation authorities” accountable for the ongoing crisis.
Additionally, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged the United States and the UN Security Council to intervene and halt the Israeli aggression in Gaza. Jordanian King Abdullah II underscored the “ugly” nature of the war in Gaza, insisting on its immediate cessation. He further warned that the global community would bear the consequences of failing to address the root issues of the Palestinian problem.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has urged an immediate and unconditional cease-fire in Gaza, emphasizing the need to halt the forced displacement of Palestinians from their lands. In a similar vein, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani expressed hope for a “humanitarian truce” in Gaza in the near future.
Prior to the summit, foreign ministers from Arab and Islamic countries held a preparatory meeting in Riyadh to establish a consensus on the draft final statement, aiming for a unified Arab and Islamic position. The Saudi Foreign Ministry announced that, following consultations, a joint Arab-Islamic summit would address the developments in the Gaza Strip, consolidating two planned summits into one.
The ministry highlighted the “dangerous and unprecedented developments” in Gaza and the Palestinian territories, stressing the need for Arab and Islamic unity to confront and contain their repercussions.
Israel has been conducting continuous air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip, targeting hospitals, residences, and places of worship since a cross-border attack by the Palestinian resistance group Hamas on Oct. 7. The conflict has resulted in a significant toll on both sides, with at least 11,078 Palestinians, including 4,506 children and 3,027 women, reported killed, while the Israeli death toll is approximately 1,200, according to official figures.
In its letter, which Quds Press received a copy of on Friday, the conference called on Arab leaders to:
“Demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after such unjust aggression has resulted in tens of thousands of martyrs and wounded, most of which are children, women and elderly people. It has caused total destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure and the basic needs for humanity, such as electricity, water, food and medicine, as well as tens of thousands of residential units, government buildings, healthcare and education facilities and refugee shelters. These actions have developed a real massive scale human disaster.”
The conference also urged the summit to:
“Work on the immediate and permanent opening of all gates crossing to Gaza and specifically Rafah gate with Egypt to allow the entry of all the relief and help supplies and products urgently needed for more than two million besieged people in Gaza who are suffering severe famine and displacement from their homes into refugee shelters and hospitals that are being shelled and bombed on daily basis,” adding that the summit must express “absolute rejection of all calls and attempts for partial or complete, temporary or permanent displacement of the Palestinian people of Gaza to any other territories or countries.”
The letter urged Arab leaders to express a:
“Firm call for the stopping of all aggression against the Palestinian Muslim and Christian Holy places. Specifically, the daily provocative intrusions of Al Aqsa Mosque by the illegal settlers, controlling the administration and management of accessibility and logistics within the Holy shrine and stopping the trials for temporal and spatial division of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”
In its letter, the Popular Conference for Palestinians Abroad urged Arab leaders to refuse the: “Demonisation of the Palestinian resistance in Gaza and Palestine in general and labelling them as terrorists rather than freedom fighters who are seeking to defend their land and people, which is a right granted by all international laws and treaties.”
The letter also called for leaders to:
“Prepare and file court cases against the occupation’s political and military leaders for committing atrocities and genocide against humanity and the people of Gaza in front of the competent international courts,” in addition to “freezing and cancelling all bilateral treaties and agreements with the Zionist regime and expelling its ambassadors and officers wherever they are in the Arab and Muslim World.”
“The situation in Gaza and Palestine at large is reaching an unprecedented and dangerous status and the current aggression and atrocities that are fully supported by the United States of America and the Western countries is not targeting Palestine and its people alone.”
The conference emphasized that the goal is to threaten the security and stability of Arab and Muslim nations. This objective was openly stated by a minister in the Zionist cabinet, who advocated for bombing Gaza with a nuclear weapon.
Additionally, various statements from think tanks and strategists have discussed the potential displacement of the Palestinian people into neighboring countries.