Arab and Western leaders, meeting at a “peace summit” in Cairo, yesterday demanded a “ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas, the “massive delivery of aid” to the Gaza Strip and a definitive “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which has lasted for 75 years.
But the meeting ended without a joint statement due to the lack of an agreement between Arab and Western countries, according to Arab diplomats, at a time when UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres affirms that the Gaza Strip is suffering a “humanitarian catastrophe.” .
The latest conflict began two weeks ago, when the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack from Gaza, penetrating Israeli territory in a bloody offensive that left more than 1,400 dead, most of them civilians, according to Israeli authorities.
Some 200 people remain kidnapped by the Palestinian Islamist group since October 7.
Nearly 4,400 Palestinians died in the Gaza Strip in retaliatory Israeli bombings, according to the Health Ministry of Hamas, which has ruled this enclave since 2007.
But, beyond calls for humanitarian aid to reach the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, under an Israeli siege, representatives of Western and Arab countries failed to agree on a final statement, Arab diplomats indicated. .
The negotiations stumbled on two points, according to them: the Arab countries refused to sign the “clear condemnation of Hamas” and the “call for the release of the hostages” that the Westerners requested.
Thus, the summit concluded with a statement from the Egyptian presidency in which it criticized “an international community that has revealed in recent decades its inability to find a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question.”
At the beginning of the meeting, Guterres urged action to “end the nightmare.” The Gaza Strip needs “a massive delivery of aid,” he added, after twenty trucks arrived in the Palestinian territory from Egypt yesterday.
According to the UN, at least one hundred trucks a day would be needed for the 2.4 million Gazans deprived of water, electricity and fuel. Guterres spoke before Arab and European leaders, including the host, the president of Egypt, Abdel Fatah al Sisi; the king of Jordan, Abdullah II; the head of diplomacy of the European Union, Josep Borrell, and the president of the European Council, Charles Michel.
The president of the Spanish government, Pedro Sánchez, the heads of the Arab League, the African Union and delegations from Russia, China, Japan and Canada also participated. The United States was represented by a lower-ranking diplomat and Israel did not participate in the meeting.
“We are not leaving.” The king of Jordan demanded an “immediate ceasefire,” and the Egyptian president insisted on the “right” of the Palestinians “to establish their State.”
“We cannot allow this conflict to become a regional crisis,” declared the president of the Spanish government.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who rules in the West Bank, reiterated the need for an “end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and a two-state solution.”
“We will not leave” the Palestinian lands, repeated three times Abbas, who along with Egypt and Jordan has been opposing for days the Israeli order to evacuate Gazans from the north of the Strip to the south, on the border with Egypt. .
The leaders consider this to be a first step towards “a forced displacement” of Palestinians to the Egyptian Sinai. According to Abas, this would be equivalent to “a second nakba” (catastrophe in Arabic), referring to the expulsion of some 760,000 Palestinians after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.
Palestinian lives, Israeli lives. Abdullah II criticized the “global silence,” adding that “it is a very dangerous message,” that “Palestinian lives are worth less than Israeli lives.”
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan denounced “unconditional military aid to Israel that only serves to maintain the occupation” of the Palestinian territories.
His Saudi counterpart, Faisal bin Farhan, criticized the UN Security Council’s rejection of two resolutions calling for a cessation of hostilities.
Egypt, which organized this summit, wants to play a leading diplomatic role in the conflict. It was the first Arab country to make peace with Israel in 1979, and since then Cairo has been a regular mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, including Hamas. In addition, Egypt has the only entry point to the Strip not controlled by Israel, Rafah.