Palestine demands Arab League intervention on Gaza
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.
Arab League delegates discussed the US embassy move to Jerusalem yesterday at an emergency session in Cairo