Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, reads out the final communique of the joint Arab-Islamic summit, in Riyadh, on Saturday. Image Credit: Supplied

Riyadh: The extraordinary joint Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh on Saturday called for an embargo on weapons and ammunition exports to Israel, urging the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.

The summit also decided to end the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and immediately allow the entry of humanitarian aid, including fuel.

In a statement issued by the summit, the Arab and Islamic nations strongly condemned any attempts to forcibly displace Palestinians from the northern to the southern part of Gaza or outside the Gaza Strip, West Bank, and Jerusalem. It called on the UN Security Council to take immediate and binding action to halt the ongoing Israeli attacks without hesitation.

The final statement of the summit rejected the characterisation of the military action in Gaza as "self-defence" and emphasised the urgent need to lift the blockade on Gaza and facilitate the immediate entry of humanitarian aid.

The statement expressed full support for Egypt in addressing the consequences of the Israeli aggression on Gaza and endorsed Egypt's relief efforts.

an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Riyadh
This handout picture provided by the Palestinian Press Office (PPO) on November 11, 2023, shows front row from left: Syria's President Bashar Al Assad, Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi, Jordan's King Abdullah II, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Palestinain president Mahmud Abbas, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, standing for a group picture ahead of an emergency meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Riyadh. Image Credit: AFP

The summit called upon the UN Security Council to pass a decisive resolution demanding an immediate cessation of Israeli aggression against Gaza.

The statement highlighted that applying double standards undermines the credibility of countries that place Israel above international law. It also condemned the displacement of Gaza residents to the southern part as a war crime attributed to Israel.

The summit vehemently rejected any attempts to forcibly displace residents of Gaza, the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

During the summit, a total of 31 decisions have been taken, including:

1. Condemning the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, denouncing the barbaric and inhumane war crimes and massacres committed by the colonial occupation Government during the conflict, and demanding an immediate cessation of these actions. The summit also condemned the mistreatment of the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

2. Rejecting any attempt to characterize this conflict as an act of self-defence or to justify it under any pretext.

3. Breaking the siege on Gaza to ensure the immediate entry of Arab, Islamic, and international humanitarian aid convoys, including essential supplies such as food, medicine, and fuel. The Arab and Islamic countries called upon international organizations to actively engage in this humanitarian effort, with a strong emphasis on ensuring their safe access to the Gaza Strip. It is imperative to protect their teams and enable them to fulfil their crucial roles. Furthermore, the Arab and Islamic countries expressed their unwavering support for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

4. Supporting all efforts undertaken by Egypt to address the repercussions of the brutal Israeli aggression on Gaza. Arab and Islamic countries support Egypt's initiatives to provide immediate, sustainable, and adequate aid to the Gaza Strip.

5. Demanding the United Nations Security Council to adopt a resolute and binding resolution that enforces an immediate cessation of aggression and holds the colonial occupying power accountable for its actions. Their actions flagrantly violate international law, international humanitarian law, and resolutions of international legitimacy, including the most recent United Nations General Assembly resolution A/ES-10/L.25 dated 26/01/2023. Failure to do so would be seen as complicity, enabling Israel to persist in its brutal aggression, resulting in the loss of innocent lives, including children, the elderly, and women, and the devastation of Gaza.

6. The Arab and Islamic countries strongly demand that all nations cease the export of weapons and ammunition to the occupying authorities, which are used by their military forces and extremist settlers to harm the Palestinian people and destroy their homes, hospitals, schools, places of worship, and all vital resources.

7. Demanding the United Nations Security Council to promptly adopt a resolution that strongly condemns Israel's ruthless destruction of hospitals in the Gaza Strip, its obstruction of the entry of vital supplies such as medicine, food, and fuel, and the occupation authorities' deliberate disruption of essential services, including electricity, water supply, communication, and internet access. These actions amount to collective punishment and constitute war crimes under international law. The resolution must compel Israe, as the occupying power, to adhere to international laws and immediately cease its brutal and inhumane measures. Furthermore, the Arab and Islamic countries emphasize the critical need to lift the protracted blockade that Israel has imposed on the Gaza Strip for years.

8. Requesting the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to expedite the ongoing investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people across all the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. The Arab and Islamic nations further urge the respective secretariats of both the Organisation and the League to closely monitor the progress of this investigation and its implementation. To ensure comprehensive documentation of Israeli crimes committed in the Gaza Strip since October 7, 2023, we (Arab and Islamic nations) propose the establishment of two dedicated legal monitoring units to meticulously record all violations of international law and international humanitarian law committed by Israel. The units shall provide their initial report within 15 days of their formation, to be presented to the Council of the League at the ministerial level and to the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Organization. Subsequently, these units will submit monthly reports to ensure ongoing scrutiny and accountability.

9. Supporting the legal and political initiatives undertaken by Palestine to bring officials of the Israeli occupation authorities to justice for their crimes against the Palestinian people. We also call for full cooperation with the Commission of Inquiry established by the Human Rights Council resolution to investigate these crimes and emphasize the importance of not obstructing their work.

10. Emphatically and collectively rejecting all efforts aimed at individual or collective forcible transfer, forced displacement, exile, or deportation of the Palestinian people. This applies equally to actions within the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, including Jerusalem, or any attempts to relocate them outside their homeland to any other destination. Such actions are considered a clear red line and constitute war crimes.

11. Israel must fulfil its responsibilities as the occupying power. This includes the immediate cessation of all unlawful Israeli actions that contribute to the continuation of the occupation, notably the construction and expansion of settlements, land confiscation, and the displacement of Palestinians from their residences.

12. Firmly rejecting any proposals that endorse the separation of Gaza from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. We affirm that any future strategy concerning Gaza should be within the framework of efforts to achieve a comprehensive solution that ensures the unity of Gaza and the West Bank as integral parts of the territory of the Palestinian state. This state should be established as a free, independent, and sovereign entity, with East Jerusalem as its capital, based on the borders of June 4, 1967.

13. Establishing two dedicated media monitoring units to meticulously document all the actions of the occupation authorities against the Palestinian people, as well as tracking digital media platforms that disseminate these actions. This is to expose the illegal and inhumane practices committed by the occupying authorities.

14. Organising an international peace conference aimed at initiating a credible peace process. This process should be founded on the principles of international law, resolutions of international legitimacy, and the "land for peace" principle. It should also adhere to a specific timeline and include international guarantees. This is to end Israeli occupation in the territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem, the Syrian Golan, the Shab'a farms, the Kafr Shuba hills, the vicinity of the Lebanese town of Al Mari, and also to realise a two-state solution.