Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi Arabian crown prince, on Friday repeated his call for Israel to end its blockade in Gaza along with its brutal bombing campaign that has killed over 11,000 and injured tens of thousands more.
The Saudi leader was meeting with top African leaders in Jeddah. He condemned “the military assault, targeting civilians, the violations of international law by the Israeli Occupation authorities,” Al Jazeera reported.
He called on the war to come to an end and for the 1.1 million internally displaced Palestinians to be allowed to return home. The report noted that on the same day that bin Salman called for peace, three hospitals in Gaza were hit by Israeli airstrikes, killing dozens.
Saudi Arabia and Iran—regional rivals—have seen their relations improve since the 7 October attack that killed 1,200 Israelis. On Saturday, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited Saudi Arabia to attend the summit, another sign of a thaw.
Kristin Diwan, a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, told The New York Times that Riyad knows that Iranian cooperation is “needed to prevent the conflict from spreading and, perhaps, even in navigating an endgame with Hamas.”
“But with some leaders boxed in by normalization and others demanding tougher measures, Saudi Arabia is well placed to hold the middle ground. To succeed, they will need the Americans to step up,” she said.
Saudi Arabia hosted an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Bin Salman kicked off the summit by telling those in attendance: “We are certain that the only way to guarantee security, peace, and stability in the region is to end the occupation, siege and the settlements.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president who also attended the summit, said “it is a shame that Western countries, which always talk about human rights and freedoms, remain silent in the face of the ongoing massacres in Palestine.”
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also attended the summit.
Reuters, citing a final communique from the summit, noted that the summit called on the International Criminal Court to investigate “war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel is committing” in the Palestinian territories.
TRENDPOST: The international community knows that each bomb that Israel drops on ambulance convoys and hospitals in Gaza would never be allowed if Washington called Israel to end its bloody campaign.
“For how long will the international community treat Israel as if it is above international laws?” Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Qatar’s emir, said, according to Reuters. (See “STATE DEPARTMENT DIVIDE: DIPLOMATS CALL ON BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO CONDEMN ISRAEL’S GAZA GENOCIDE” 7 Nov 2023, “LEAKED ISRAELI INTEL: NEW ‘SETTLEMENT’, PUSH PALESTINIANS FROM OUT OF GAZA” 7 Nov 2023, and “U.S. CALLED OUT BY DEVELOPING WORLD FOR BLATANT HYPOCRISY OVER ISRAEL AND RUSSIA” 31 Oct 2023.)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed reporters on Saturday and said the war will continue until every last hostage who was taken by Hamas is released.
“The war against (Hamas) is advancing with full force, and it has one goal, to win. There is no alternative to victory,” he said.
Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian group, was evidently unimpressed with the summit and said it did not expect anything to come out of the emergency gathering.
“We are not placing our hopes on such meetings, for we have seen their results over many years,” Mohammad al-Hindi, the group’s deputy secretary-general, said, according to NDTV World. “The fact that this conference will be held after 35 days (of war) is an indication of its outcomes.”