Arab League urges immediate cease-fire in Gaza and creation of Palestinian state

Leaders attending the 33rd Arab League summit on Thursday expressed their condemnation of the Israeli offensive in Gaza and urged for the prompt withdrawal of forces from the area.

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa led this year’s summit in the capital city of Manama, where discussions focused on various ongoing conflicts in Libya, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and the war in Gaza.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who led last year’s summit, delivered an opening speech reiterating his country’s commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state. He also urged international leaders to take action and put an end to the ongoing “Israeli aggression against Gaza.”

The crown prince emphasized the significance of safeguarding the Red Sea from Houthi rebel attacks on shipping vessels, which can have a detrimental impact on maritime commerce.

Hamad emphasized the importance of embracing a unified stance from both Arab and international communities in order to bring an end to the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Additionally, he highlighted the significance of fully recognizing the State of Palestine and granting it membership within the United Nations.

The Arab League summit this year takes place amidst the ongoing Israeli war against Hamas in Gaza. This conflict was triggered by the Oct. 7 attack carried out by Hamas, resulting in the tragic loss of over 1,170 lives in southern Israel.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, the Israeli military operations have resulted in the loss of at least 35,272 lives and have also led to severe food shortages.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, King Abdullah II of Jordan, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani of Qatar, and United Arab Emirates Vice President and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also attended the event on Thursday.

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Al-Sisi blamed Israel for evading efforts to achieve a cease-fire with Hamas and persisting in their attack on Rafah along the Gaza-Egypt border.

Israel was accused of using the Rafah border crossing to further tighten the siege on the Strip.

He stated that Egypt strongly opposes the displacement or forced removal of Palestinians.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has made a return to the summit for the second time this year. In 2011, the Arab League suspended Syria’s membership due to the government’s harsh handling of Arab Spring protesters.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres was also in attendance, where he emphasized the urgent need for a humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. He stressed the importance of unimpeded access for humanitarian assistance and called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.

“The Gaza war stands as the most deadly and immense conflict I have witnessed during my tenure as Secretary-General. It has claimed the lives of countless civilians, aid workers, journalists, and even our fellow U.N. colleagues,” he expressed, emphasizing the magnitude and swiftness of the devastation caused by the conflict.

The Arab League held its second summit since the Israeli campaign began in Gaza on Thursday.

Just one month after the war broke out, Riyadh held an urgent summit. During the summit, leaders firmly rejected Israel’s claims of acting in self-defense. They called for the U.N. Security Council to adopt a decisive and binding resolution to put a halt to the operation.

The summit on Thursday included discussions on various aspects of joint Arab action, including politics, economics, social issues, culture, media, and security.

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During the discussions, the participants unanimously agreed to support the “Bahrain Declaration.” This proposal, which was drafted on Tuesday, calls for the organization of a U.N.-backed international peace conference on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conference is proposed to take place in Manama.

During the discussions, participants also deliberated on the reactivation of the Arab Peace Initiative. This initiative was originally proposed by Saudi Arabia and was subsequently adopted at the 2002 league summit.

The initiative suggests that in return for Israel’s withdrawal from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967 and the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, there should be full diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab states.

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