UAE, 8 Arab countries condemn targeting of civilians in Gaza

The foreign ministers also denounced the forced displacement and collective punishment in Gaza


Angel Tesorero

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Smoke rises above buildings during an Israeli air Stike on Rafah in southern Gaza Strip on October 26. — AFP
Smoke rises above buildings during an Israeli air Stike on Rafah in southern Gaza Strip on October 26. — AFP

Published: Thu 26 Oct 2023, 6:28 PM

Last updated: Thu 26 Oct 2023, 11:33 PM

The UAE and eight other Arab countries have strongly condemned the targeting of civilians and “flagrant violations of international law in Gaza”, which has been under heavy Israeli bombardment since October 7.

In a joint statement on Thursday, the foreign ministers of the UAE, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt and Morocco also called on the UN Security Council to push for an immediate and sustainable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

They underscored Israel's right to self-defence – as guaranteed by the UN Charter – after the October 7 attack by Hamas, did not justify neglecting Palestinians' human rights and their right to self-determination, as well as “ending the occupation that has continued for decades”.

The latest communiqué came following the ‘Cairo Peace Summit’ held in the Egyptian capital on October 21 and attended by more than a dozen countries that discussed ways to “deescalate” the Israel-Hamas war, amid growing fears it will spill into “a wider Middle East conflict”.

Two-state solution

The Arab ministers unequivocally observed that the absence of a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has led to repeated acts of violence and suffering for both Palestinians and Israelis, and the peoples of the region.

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They emphasised the need for a two-state solution, ensuring the establishment of "an independent, sovereign, contiguous (connecting) and viable Palestinian state on the pre-June 4, 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital".

Observe the Geneva Convention

The Arab ministers condemned the forced displacement and collective punishment of people in Gaza as they also underscored the urgency of observing the protocols of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, including the laws of armed conflict and International Humanitarian Law.

This applies to the responsibilities of the occupying power and the immediate release of hostages and civilian detainees in a safe, dignified and humane way consistent with international law and under the auspices of International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) or Red Crescent.


Urgent humanitarian aid now

The Arab foreign ministers demanded urgent, safe and sustainable access for humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip without obstacles in accordance with international humanitarian principles.

They also called on the international community to provide financial and material aid to the affected Palestinian people, and the mobilisation of additional resources in cooperation with the UN and its affiliated organisations, particularly the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

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