Nine Arab nations have issued a joint statement condemning Israel’s ongoing attacks in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza Strip. The statement, issued on Thursday and came in the wake of the ‘Cairo Peace Summit’ held on 21 October 2023, highlighted the continued loss of innocent lives and flagrant violations of international law and international humanitarian law.

The nations, namely Jordan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, and Morocco, condemned and rejected “the targeting of civilians, all acts of violence and terrorism against them,” and all violations of international law, including “the targeting of civilian infrastructure and facilities.” They also denounced “individual or collective forced displacement, as well as collective punishment policies.”

The statement rejected any attempts to ignore the Palestinian issue at the expense of the Palestinian people and the peoples of the region, the statement read, calling it a serious violation of international humanitarian law tantamount to a war crime.

While underscoring the necessity to commit fully to articles of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, especially when it comes to the responsibilities of the occupying force, the statement called for the immediate release of hostages, including detained civilians, while also ensuring their safety, dignity and human decency.

The failure to describe flagrant violations of international humanitarian law effectively constitutes an endorsement for the continuation of these practices and complicity in committing them, the statement read.

The nations further highlighted that the right to self-defence, guaranteed by the United Nations Charter, does not justify flagrant violations of international humanitarian law or ignore the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people – rights which include the right to self-determination and the right to an end to the occupation that has lasted for decades.

The statement also urged the UN Security Council to mandate an immediate, and sustainable, ceasefire and demanded that efforts to ensure and facilitate rapid, safe, sustainable and unfettered access for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and the mobilisation of additional resources in cooperation with the United Nations and its organisations and agencies, bringing special focus to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRAW).

The statement came amid Palestinians’ rising death toll and injuries due to the Israeli attacks that began on 7 October. According to the latest figures, at least 7,326 Palestinians have been killed, including over 3,000 children, and more than 17,439 have been injured, including about 2,000 children and 1,400 women.