Saudi Arabia hosted an extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh on Saturday, bringing together Arab and Muslim leaders. The purpose of the summit was to exert pressure on the United States and Israel to end hostilities in Gaza. Among the attendees were Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Raisi emphasized the need for action rather than mere talk to address the conflict in Gaza, stating that the unity of Islamic countries is crucial. Raisi also proposed that Muslim countries ban Israel from using their airspace and prevent the U.S. from shipping weapons to Israel from military bases in the region.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman condemned the military assault, targeting of civilians, and violations of international law by the Israeli occupation authorities in Gaza. The situation in the Middle East has been tense since Hamas fighters entered Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1,200 people. Israel has escalated its assault on Gaza, leading to the deaths of 11,078 Gaza residents, including 40% children, according to Palestinian officials.
The war in Gaza has disrupted traditional Middle East alliances, with Saudi Arabia engaging more closely with Iran and putting its plans to normalize ties with Israel on hold. Raisi’s visit to Saudi Arabia marks the first visit by an Iranian head of state since the two countries ended years of hostility under a China-brokered deal in March. The planned Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit and Arab League summit were replaced by the joint summit due to the extraordinary situation in Gaza.
Hamas called on the summit to take decisive action to stop the Zionist aggression immediately. The Palestinian militant group urged Arab and Muslim leaders to pressure the American administration, which it holds responsible for the genocidal war in Gaza. Arab foreign ministers, who held an emergency meeting prior to the summit, were divided on their approach. Some countries, led by Algeria, called for cutting all diplomatic ties with Israel, while others stressed the importance of maintaining open channels with Israel’s government.
In conclusion, the summit aimed to unite Arab and Muslim leaders in pressuring the United States and Israel to end hostilities in Gaza. The attendees, including Iranian President Raisi, proposed measures such as banning Israel from using Muslim countries’ airspace and preventing the U.S. from shipping weapons to Israel. The situation in Gaza has strained Middle East alliances, with Saudi Arabia reevaluating its relationship with Israel. The summit provided an opportunity for leaders to address the ongoing conflict and discuss potential solutions.
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