Arab-Islamic summit falls short: Draft resolution condemns Israel, but no concrete measures

Mohamed Badereldin, Saturday 11 Nov 2023

In an emergency Arab Islamic Summit that comes 36 days after Israel launched its war on Gaza Arab and Islamic countries unequivocally condemned Israel, yet failed to adopt any measure capable of ending Israeli aggression or mitigating the ongoing human crisis.

Summit Riyadh
This handout picture provided by the Iranian Presidency on November 11, 2023, shows a family group portrait prior to the start of an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Riyadh. AFP


The 31-clause resolution drawn up by national leaders at a meeting in Saudi Arabia emphasized the need for a just and lasting peace based on the two-state solution. They call on the international community to hold Israel accountable for its actions and protect the rights of the Palestinian people.

Rejecting any attempts to describe Israel's attacks as self-defence or justifiable under any pretext, the resolution demands that the United Nations Security Council take a binding decision to halt the aggression and restrain Israel's colonial occupation, which has consistently violated international law, and various UN resolutions.

The resolution calls on the international community to recognize Israel as an occupying power, with all the attendant consequences in international humanitarian law. This includes the construction and expansion of settlements, land confiscation, and the displacement of Palestinians from their homes.

One of the key provisions of the resolution calls on all countries to cease exporting weapons and ammunition to the occupation authorities, which are used by the Israeli army and terrorist settlers to perpetrate violence against the Palestinian people and destroy their homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and other vital infrastructure.

Merger maneuvers

The two summits of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were merged in order to overcome a lack of consensus and produce a unified Arab-Islamic position on Israeli aggression.

Sources confirmed to London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that the merger of the two events, originally planned to be held separately on the same day, was requested by half the foreign ministers of the OIC.

Influential and weighty nations within the Arab League obstructed the adoption of serious proposals pressuring Israel to cease its aggression, the sources said, adding that these influential countries instead pushed for "vague" provisions.

This obstruction frustrated the Palestinian request that the emergency Arab summit be distinct from the OIC’s summit in order to focus attention on the Israeli aggression in Gaza and deliver crucial recommendations.

The resolution strongly condemns Israel's barbaric destruction of hospitals in the Gaza Strip and the blockade imposed on the region, which has cut off essential supplies such as medicine, food, and fuel, as well as electricity, water supply, and basic services. 

To address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the resolution calls for the breaking of the siege and the immediate entry of international humanitarian aid convoys.

The resolution expresses solidarity with the Arab Republic of Egypt and its efforts to confront Israeli aggression on Gaza. It supports Egypt's initiatives to provide aid to the Gaza Strip in an immediate, sustainable, and adequate manner.

Recognizing the need for accountability, the draft resolution requests the Prosecutor General of the International Criminal Court to launch an immediate investigation into the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in all occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem.

It also mandates the establishment of a specialized legal monitoring unit under the supervision of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to document Israeli crimes in all Palestinian territories.

The resolution extends its support to the litigation undertaken by the State of Palestine to hold the Israeli occupation authorities responsible for their crimes, including the advisory opinion process of the International Court of Justice.

In an effort to expose the illegal and inhumane practices of the occupation authorities, the resolution also calls for the establishment of a joint media monitoring unit by the two secretariats of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The resolution strongly denounces double standards in the application of international law, warning that such duplicity undermines the credibility of states that shield Israel from accountability.

Condemning the displacement of approximately 1.5 million Palestinians within the Gaza Strip, which constitutes a war crime under the Fourth Geneva Convention, the resolution calls on states parties to the convention to collectively condemn and reject this act.

The text categorically rejects any attempts at individual or collective forced transfer, forced displacement, exile, or deportation of the Palestinian people, whether from Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem to any other destination. Such actions are to be considered red lines and war crimes.

It also condemns the wrongful imprisonment of thousands of Palestinians by Israel.

Addressing acts and words of extremist and racist hatred by ministers in the Israeli occupation government, the resolution specifically condemns an Israeli minister's threat to use nuclear weapons against Palestinians, which it deemed a serious threat to international peace and security.

The resolution calls for a conference aimed at establishing a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East and eliminating all weapons of mass destruction in the region, as part of the United Nations' efforts to address this threat.

It also condemns the killing of journalists, children, and women, as well as the targeting of paramedics during Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and Lebanon. The resolution raises concerns about the military use of internationally prohibited white phosphorus and calls for an investigation into Israel's use of chemical weapons.

The commitment to peace is reiterated in the resolution as the preferable strategic option for ending Israel's occupation and resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict.

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