Arab League summit calls for UN peacekeepers in Palestinian territories

The Arab League called for a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Palestinian territories at a summit dominated by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.

The “Manama Declaration” issued by the 22-member bloc called for “international protection and peacekeeping forces of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian territories” until a two-state solution is implemented.

The declaration also called for “all Palestinian factions to join under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization,” which is dominated by the ruling Fatah movement, and added that it considered the PLO “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.”

It also called for an “immediate” ceasefire in Gaza and an end to forced displacement in the Palestinian territory.

“We demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, a halt to all attempts at forced displacement, an end to all forms of siege and allowing full and sustainable access to aid,” the final communique said.

It further “strongly condemned the attacks on commercial ships,” saying they “threaten freedom of navigation, international trade, and the interests of countries and peoples of the world,” and reiterated the Arab League’s commitment to “ensuring freedom of navigation in the Red Sea” and surrounding areas.

The King of Bahrain, Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, opened the summit by calling for an international conference for peace in the Middle East.

The king, as the summit’s host, also reaffirmed his country’s support for the full recognition of a Palestinian state and the acceptance of its membership in the United Nations.

He stressed that the establishment of a Palestinian state will reflect positively on the region.

Last week, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member and called on the UN Security Council to reconsider the request.

The vote by the 193-member General Assembly was a global survey of support for the Palestinian bid to become a full UN member - a move that would effectively recognize a Palestinian state - after the US vetoed it in the UN Security Council last month.

“What the Palestinians are facing requires a unified international stance,” the King of Bahrain said.During his opening remarks at the summit, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for the establishment of an internationally recognized Palestinian state.

The prince was among the Arab delegates who arrived in Manama on Thursday for the Arab League Summit.

During his speech, the prince highlighted the Kingdom’s efforts in alleviating the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, reiterating Saudi Arabia’s support for issues of the Arab world.

He urged the international community to back ceasefire efforts and halt the aggression on Palestinian civilians.

It is the first time the Arab leaders come together after Riyadh hosted an extraordinary summit in November where the bloc condemned Israel’s “barbaric” actions in Gaza.

The one-day summit was set to discuss events in Gaza, propose a ceasefire and push for a Palestinian state.

“The Kingdom calls for conflict resolution through peaceful means,” the prince said.

The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas criticized Hamas for giving Israel the ‘pretext to attack’ Gaza with the Oct. 7 attack.

“Hamas’ rejection of ending the division serves Israel’s interest in ending the two-state solution,” he noted, pointing to the long-standing tensions between the Palestinian Authority and the militant group governing Gaza.

He said the Palestinian government has not received the financial support it had expected from international and regional partners, noting that Israel is still withholding the funds and creating a dire situation.

The Palestinian leader called on Arab countries for financial support and the US to pressure Israel into releasing the funds.

“It has now become critical to activate the Arab safety net, to boost the resilience of our people and to enable the government to carry out its duties,” Abbas added.

He also urged the international community to start immediately with the implementation of the two-state solution and reiterated ‘full rejection’ of the displacement of Palestinians, who just marked the 76th anniversary of the 1948 Nakba.

Qatar’s Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, UAE’s Vice President and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Rashid, Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, and Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad were among the attendees on Thursday.

Arab League summit calls for UN peacekeepers in Palestinian territories

Arab League summit calls for UN peacekeepers in Palestinian territories
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