9 Arab nations demand UNSC to oblige all parties to cease fire amid ongoing Gaza escalation

Ahram Online , Thursday 26 Oct 2023

Foreign ministers of nine Arab nations, including Egypt, called in a joint statement on Thursday for the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to “oblige all parties to an immediate and sustainable ceasefire” amid the ongoing escalation in Gaza, condemning as “violation of international law” the targeting of civilians.

In this photo provided by Egypt s presidency media office, participants of the International Peace Summit pose for a group picture at the New Administrative Capital, just outside Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023. AP


The statement was issued by foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Morocco a day after the UN body failed to adopt a resolution calling for a ceasefire despite the deterioration in the strip.

The Arab nations said they condemn and reject all acts of violence and terrorism against civilians and all breaches against international law by any party -- including targeting civilian infrastructure and facilities.

The move comes in light of the ongoing escalation “in both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, especially in the Gaza Strip, the continued fall of innocent civilian victims, and the flagrant violations of international law,” read the statement.

After 20 days of brazen airstrikes, Israel has killed more than 7,028 Palestinians in Gaza, including 2,913 children and 1,709 women, while injuring thousands of others and demolishing half of the strip’s housing units.

Israel has imposed a complete blockade on Gaza, depriving its citizens of food, power and fuel supplies. 

In addition, Israel imposes numerous restrictions on the entry of medical and aid supplies to the Palestinian territories, thus putting the strip on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.   

In their statement on Thursday, the Arab ministers reaffirmed their rejection of the Israeli policy of collective punishment.

They pointed out that the right to self-defence guaranteed by the UN charter does not justify “flagrant” violations of international law and international humanitarian law.

It also does not justify the deliberate disregard of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and ending the decades-old occupation, added the statement.

The Arab top diplomats also refused any attempt to liquidate the Palestinian cause via individual or mass forced displacement of the Palestinians from their lands, describing such an attempt as “a grave violation of international humanitarian law and a war crime.”

They stressed the rejection of any attempts to settle the Palestinian cause at the expense of other neighbouring countries while calling on Israel to assume its responsibilities as the occupying power as per the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Furthermore, the Arab FMs affirmed the importance of immediately releasing hostages and civilian detainees and ensuring that they are provided with safe, dignified, and humane treatment consistent with international law.

They warned that the reluctance to describe flagrant violations of international humanitarian law is tantamount to giving “a green light for the continuation of these practices and complicity in their commission."

Moreover, the ministers called for rapid, safe and sustainable access to humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, devoid of obstacles as per relevant humanitarian principles in cooperation with the UN agencies, especially UNRWA.

They also voiced “deep concern” over the potential expansion of the current conflict to other regions in the Middle East, urging “all parties to exercise the utmost restraint.”

“The expansion of this conflict will have serious consequences on the peoples of the region and for international peace and security,” they stressed.

In addition, the ministers expressed “deep concern” over the escalation of violence in the occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank.

A 17-year-old boy was killed by Israeli gunfire in the Jalazone camp north of Ramallah, reported the Palestinian Health Ministry on Thursday. The death raises the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the West Bank since the beginning of this year to 313, including 105 since 7 October.

The Arab ministers called on the international community to support the Palestinian National Authority and to provide financial support to the Palestinian people.

The statement also referred to the absence of a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a driving factor behind “the repeated acts of violence and suffering for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and the peoples of the region.”

They urged the international community, especially the UNSC, to assume its responsibilities to achieve peace in the Middle East and resolve the conflict via implementing UN resolutions regarding the two-state solution in a way that ensures the establishment of an independent Palestinian state along the pre-June 4, 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

On Wednesday, the US and the UK vetoed a Russian draft resolution submitted to the UNSC calling for an immediate ceasefire.

In the same session, Russia and China vetoed a US draft resolution because it did not call for an immediate ceasefire.

The representative of Russia said, "We regret that the UN Security Council was unable to halt the escalation in the region."

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