In a significant and much-anticipated gathering, Riyadh played host to a unique summit that merged the Arab and Islamic worlds to address the unfolding developments in Gaza. Officially known as the “Extraordinary Arab-Islamic Summit,” the summit’s final statement strongly condemned Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip, rejecting any characterization of it as “self-defense.” It called for an immediate end to the Gaza blockade and the mobilization of humanitarian aid from Arab, Islamic, and international sources. The statement also called for a halt to arms exports to Israel and proposed the creation of a media monitoring unit to document Israeli violations.
However, the summit’s outcomes left some observers and groups dissatisfied. The Islamic Jihad movement expressed disappointment, feeling that the final statement fell short of fulfilling its responsibilities to safeguard national security.
Arab newspapers scrutinized the summit’s intricacies and uncovered revealing leaks. The “Al-Arab” newspaper emphasized that while observers had hoped for concrete actions favouring Gaza and exerting pressure on Israel, the summit appeared to have fallen short. It was marked by lofty rhetoric and vague statements, with a preponderance of slogans and political posturing that did not translate into concrete measures against Israel or the United States. Instead, the focus seemed to be on the humanitarian aspect of the crisis.
The decision to merge the summits arose after Arab League representatives failed to reach a consensus on a final statement during their previous meeting in Riyadh. Some Arab nations had proposed a draft resolution that contemplated an escalation, including threats to cut off oil supplies to Israel and its Western allies, as well as severing diplomatic and economic ties with Israel. However, this proposal faced resistance from other Arab countries.
The Lebanese newspaper “An-Nahar” shed light on Riyadh’s motivations for hosting the summit. Analysts suggested that Saudi Arabia, cognizant of potential vulnerabilities due to its close ties with the United States, had been engaged in talks aimed at normalizing relations with Israel before the conflict erupted. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman condemned the military aggression in Gaza and called for an end to violations of international humanitarian law.
Author Kim Ghattas, participating in a panel discussion, noted that Saudi Arabia and Iran both saw communication channels as a means of protection in the current geopolitical landscape.
Saudi writer Hammoud Abu Talib argued that the Arab and Islamic group, comprising over two billion people and influential nations, had multiple leverage points to curb Israeli actions and restore Palestinian rights according to international legitimacy resolutions. He suggested that the bloc could employ various strategies beyond mere condemnation and appeals to the international community.
As the Israeli aggression against Gaza continued into its thirty-sixth day, healthcare facilities remained a primary target, leaving many non-operational.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.