Arab-OIC summit calls Israeli assault on Gaza a war crime

The summit, hosted by Saudi Arabia and attended by 57 countries — members of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) — also rejected the Israeli claim that its war on Gaza was in “self-defence”

November 13, 2023 by Peoples Dispatch

A joint Arab-Islamic summit held in Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh on Saturday, November 11, rejected Israeli claims that the war in Gaza was in “self defense.” The participating members instead held it responsible for “continuation and aggravation of the conflict” and “warned of the disastrous repercussions” for its “war crime.” 

The joint communique issued after the meeting also reiterated the demand for an immediate end of the “barbaric, inhuman and brutal massacre by the colonial occupation government” in Gaza and an end to Israel’s “barbaric crimes committed also in the West Bank and Al-Quds Al-Sharif (East Jerusalem).” 

The summit was called to discuss a joint response to the Israeli war in Gaza. Israel has been carrying out indiscriminate air strikes and land incursions in the besieged Palestinian territory since October 7. The offensive has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, mostly children, women and the elderly, and injured over 27,000. 

Israeli attacks have displaced more than 70% of the 2.3 million population of Gaza, destroying residential buildings, hospitals, schools, shelters, and almost all of its civil infrastructure. 

The summit, originally scheduled as a meeting of the Arab League members, was later extended and converted into a joint summit with members of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC).

As per reports, the original OIC summit was scheduled on Sunday, but it was postponed due to the “extraordinary” situation in Gaza.   

The 57 members of the OIC includes 22 Arab countries, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia, and several other Asian and African countries. 

Calls for the end of weapons supplies to Israel  

Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi traveled to Saudi Arabia after a gap of 11 years to attend the summit on Saturday. He blamed the US for the genocide in Gaza.

Raisi also presented a ten-point proposal to deal with Israeli aggression. The proposal included a complete boycott of Israel by all members of the OIC. 

Syrian president Bashar al-Asad also joined the summit meeting with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Saudi crown prince Mohammad Bin Salman among others. 

“We seek to stop and end all Israeli illegal practices that perpetuate the occupation and deprive the Palestinian people of their rights, especially their right to freedom and to have an independent state on all their national territory,” the joint communique issued after the summit read.

Apart from reiterating their support to the Palestinian demand for a separate state on the lines of 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, the summit also reaffirmed that no peace and stability in the region is possible “without ending the Israeli occupation and resolving the Palestinian cause on the basis of a two-state solution.”

The summit called all countries to stop exporting weapons to Israel. It claimed that these weapons and ammunition “are used by their (Israeli) army and terrorist settlers to kill the Palestinian people and destroy their homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches and their capabilities.”

Calling Israel’s incessant attacks on hospitals and other civilian infrastructure in Gaza a form of “collective punishment,” the communique asked the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution against it and other international institutions, including the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel for war crimes.

It condemned the “double standards in applying the international law” without taking any names and called for a joint diplomatic effort by all the members of the OIC against it. 

It also underlined the need for initiating a peace process to resolve the Palestinian issue as soon as possible.