NEW YORK CITY: Saudi Arabia has once again called for an “immediate end to military operations” in Gaza, as the Kingdom’s ambassador to the UN issued a rallying cry for collective international efforts to end the humanitarian catastrophe in the territory.
Addressing a meeting of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Albulaziz Alwasil painted a bleak picture of “defenseless civilians” facing relentless brutality, the destruction of vital infrastructure including health centers and places of worship, and the alarming loss of innocent lives, including thousands of women, children and elderly people.
He said his country is sparing no effort in its attempts to safeguard civilians in Gaza and provide them with aid. Its commitment to providing humanitarian assistance by air and sea, and the launch of major fundraising campaigns that have raised more than SR500 million ($133 million), underscore the Kingdom’s dedication to alleviating the suffering of Palestinian civilians, he added.
On Nov. 11, Riyadh hosted an extraordinary joint Islamic and Arab summit to discuss the escalating war, during which the participants adopted a resolution that stated they “unequivocally reject the Israeli aggression against Gaza.”
It also condemned the displacement of Palestinians, attacks on hospitals, and the overall violence in the region. It emphasized the immediate need for food, medicine and fuel in Gaza and called for humanitarian aid convoys to be granted access to the territory as a matter of urgency.
It urged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the League of Arab States to adopt an official position in opposition to the aggression in Gaza, and called for increased pressure in an effort to establish a serious political process designed to achieve a comprehensive and just peace in line with the principles of international law.
Alwasil welcomed the humanitarian pause that began on Friday and was initiated by efforts by Qatar, Egypt and the US, while calling for it to become a complete halt to military operations. He also stressed the importance of releasing all hostages and prisoners, and reiterated the need to implement all relevant UN Security Council resolutions and General Assembly mandates without conditions.
Alwasil said the Israeli occupation forces must be held accountable for their actions, denounced the use of weapons prohibited by international conventions, and condemned the annexation of settlements in the West Bank.
He also criticized those responsible for repeated incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque, which he described as grave violations of international law and provocations that cause tensions to rise and disrupt peace efforts.
“We call upon the international community to hold the Israeli occupation forces accountable for these inhumane crimes, which are tantamount to a blatant violation of international humanitarian law,” said Alwasil.
“We warn against double standards and selectivity, and not committing to UN laws and resolutions. This has serious consequences that go beyond this crisis and undermine the legitimacy of the global order, which in turn reflects negatively on our ability to maintain international peace and security.”
Alwasil reiterated Saudi Arabia’s unwavering belief in a two-state solution as the key to stability and security for Palestine.
He added that there is a need “for the Israeli occupation forces to heed the calls for peace, namely the Arab Peace Initiative, and to engage in serious negotiations in good faith to achieve peace based on the two-state solution. This would allow us to achieve security and stability in this vital region of the world.”