Pales­tine de­mands Arab League in­ter­ven­tion on Gaza

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Pales­tine’s am­bas­sador to the Arab League called on its mem­ber na­tions to in­ter­vene on be­half of the un­armed pro­test­ers sub­jected to an “Is­raeli mas­sacre” in Gaza, seek­ing a united Arab front against Is­raeli vi­o­lence and uni­lat­eral US moves in Jerusalem.

Diyab Al Loub’s re­quest came af­ter Is­raeli forces killed 60 Pales­tini­ans and wounded more than 2,700 in the blood­i­est day in the re­gion since the 2014 Gaza War be­tween Ha­mas, the ter­ri­tory’s rulers, and Is­rael.

Tens of thou­sands of Gazans took to the bor­der with Is­rael to protest against the on­go­ing Is­raeli block­ade of the en­clave, and the re­lo­ca­tion of the US em­bassy to Jerusalem.

In the open­ing ses­sion of the Arab League meet­ing yes­ter­day, Osama Nu­gali, Saudi Ara­bia’s per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the or­gan­i­sa­tion, called the move il­le­gal.

Saudi Ara­bia will con­vene a meet­ing of the Arab League’s for­eign min­is­ters to­day, a day af­ter the closed ses­sion. The body com­prises 22 mem­bers but Syria re­mains sus­pended amid the on­go­ing civil war. It re­mains un­clear how many mem­ber states will at­tend the ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing.

“The meet­ing will dis­cuss the emer­gence of a uni­fied Arab stance against the crimes against the Pales­tinian peo­ple, as well as to con­front the US de­ci­sion to trans­fer its em­bassy to the city of Jerusalem,” said Hos­sam Al Zaki, the Arab League as­sis­tant sec­re­tary-gen­eral Am­bas­sador, state news agency Wam re­ported.

Yes­ter­day, the Saudi cabi­net, chaired by King Sal­man bin Ab­du­laziz, ex­pressed its re­jec­tion of the US de­ci­sion to move

and open its em­bassy in Jerusalem.

“This step rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant bias against the his­tor­i­cal and per­ma­nent rights of the Pales­tinian peo­ple in Jerusalem,” the Saudi state news agency re­ported.

The Arab League for­eign min­is­ters will prob­a­bly dis­cuss how to pro­ceed on the in­ter­na­tional stage af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s move, which over­turned decades of US pol­icy.

The move was sharply crit­i­cised by the UK, France, Rus­sia and sev­eral in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights or­gan­i­sa­tions.

Kuwait, a mem­ber of the Arab League and non-per­ma­nent mem­ber of the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, is ex­pected to raise the Pales­tinian cause at the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s next meet­ing in Geneva. Their call for an emer­gency meet­ing was blocked by the US on Tues­day.

The UN’s top hu­man rights body will also hold a spe­cial ses­sion to­mor­row to dis­cuss the cri­sis. The 47-mem­ber hu­man rights coun­cil said it would dis­cuss “the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing hu­man rights sit­u­a­tion in the oc­cu­pied Pales­tinian ter­ri­tory”.

The ses­sion was or­gan­ised af­ter a re­quest by Pales­tine and the UAE that was sup­ported by 17 mem­bers – one more than re­quired un­der coun­cil rules – in­clud­ing Cuba, Egypt, Iraq, Pak­istan and Saudi Ara­bia.

Gu­atemala, the first coun­try to fol­low Mr Trump’s de­ci­sion to re­lo­cate its em­bassy, in­au­gu­rated its new diplo­matic mis­sion at a cer­e­mony yes­ter­day.

Gu­atemalan Pres­i­dent Jimmy Mo­rales and Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu at­tended the open­ing at an of­fice com­plex in west Jerusalem.

“It’s not a co­in­ci­dence that Gu­atemala is open­ing its em­bassy in Jerusalem right among the first. You were al­ways among the first. You were the sec­ond coun­try to recog­nise Is­rael,” Mr Ne­tanyahu said at the cer­e­mony, re­fer­ring to its found­ing in 1948.

Hon­duras and Paraguay have also sig­nalled their in­ten­tion to move diplo­matic mis­sions to Jerusalem.

The Pales­tinian For­eign Min­istry has re­called its am­bas­sadors to four Eu­ro­pean coun­tries in protest at their par­tic­i­pa­tion in a party cel­e­brat­ing the open­ing of the new US em­bassy.

The min­istry said yes­ter­day that its am­bas­sadors to Ro­ma­nia, the Czech Re­pub­lic, Hun­gary and Aus­tria were be­ing called home for con­sul­ta­tions.

The Eu­ro­pean Union ob­jected to the em­bassy move. But the four Eu­ro­pean coun­tries crit­i­cised by the Pales­tini­ans broke with EU pol­icy to at­tend the celebration.

“We highly value our re­la­tions with all EU mem­ber states. Those re­la­tions are based on the com­mit­ment to in­ter­na­tional law, UN res­o­lu­tions and hu­man rights. There­fore we con­sider the par­tic­i­pa­tion in this event a con­tra­dic­tion of such val­ues,” said Amal Jadou, a Pales­tinian For­eign Min­istry of­fi­cial.

The Pales­tini­ans seek Is­raelian­nexed East Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of any fu­ture state, joined with the West Bank and Gaza. But Is­rael, which cap­tured the ter­ri­tory in the 1967 Arab-Is­raeli War, says the city is its un­di­vided cap­i­tal.

Jerusalem is a city revered by Mus­lims, Jews and Chris­tians, host­ing some of the holi­est sites for each faith.

In fur­ther diplo­matic fall­out, Is­rael’s am­bas­sador to Turkey left the coun­try yes­ter­day. Is­rael ac­cused the coun­try of treat­ing Ei­tan Naeh harshly as he left Ankara af­ter the deadly vi­o­lence in Gaza.

Is­rael’s for­eign min­istry said Mr Naeh was sub­jected to a se­vere se­cu­rity screen­ing dur­ing his de­par­ture from the air­port in Is­tan­bul that was in­ten­tion­ally cap­tured by Turk­ish me­dia.

Af­ter un­con­firmed re­ports of in­di­rect con­tact be­tween Ha­mas and Is­rael, on Tues­day it was much calmer on the bor­der and only mi­nor in­ci­dents were re­ported.

AFP

Arab League del­e­gates dis­cussed the US em­bassy move to Jerusalem yes­ter­day at an emer­gency ses­sion in Cairo

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