Israel-Hamas: Arab nations condemn Gaza killings, call for ICC probe

The Joint Arab Islamic Extraordinary Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has demanded a ceasefire in the ongoing Israeli-Hamas war.

This is as the United Nations Population Fund, the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Health Organisation called for urgent international action to end the ongoing attacks on hospitals in Gaza.

At the summit concluded on Saturday, attended by world leaders of states and governments of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the League of the Arab States, the Arab nations condemned Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

“We reaffirm that a just, lasting and comprehensive peace, which is a strategic option, is the only way to establish security and stability for all peoples of the region and protect them from cycles of violence and wars. This, we stress, will not be achieved without ending the Israeli occupation and resolving the Palestinian cause on the basis of the two-state solution.

“We affirm that it is impossible to achieve regional peace while overlooking the Palestinian cause or attempting to ignore the rights of the Palestinian people. We stress that the Arab Peace Initiative, backed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, is an essential reference to this end,” part of the communique from the summit read.

While calling for the convening of an international peace conference through which a realistic peace would be launched, the summit “demanded a decisive and binding resolution by the United Nations Security Council that will impose a cessation of aggression and put an end to Israeli occupation practices that violate international law, international humanitarian law, and international legitimacy resolutions, the most recent of which is UNGA Resolution No. AES-101.25 dated 10/26/2013.”

These were contained in a statement signed by the media aide to the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Rabiu Ibrahim, on Sunday.

Backing a probe into war crimes, the leaders called on “the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to complete the investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity” as they assigned the General Secretariats of the OIC and the Arab League to follow up on the implementation of the investigation.

The Arab and Islamic leaders further condemned some nations’ shipment of arms and ammunition to support the war which they noted had been used for the destruction of houses, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and other facilities.

On their part, UN agencies in a joint statement on Sunday revealed that attacks on healthcare facilities had led to 521 deaths and 686 injuries, including 16 deaths and 38 injuries of health workers on duty.

The statement was signed by UNFPA Arab States Regional Director, Ms Laila Baker; UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Ms Adele Khodr; and WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Dr Ahmed Al-Mandhari.

“We are horrified at the latest reports of attacks on and in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Hospital, Al-Rantissi Naser Paediatric Hospital, Al-Quds Hospital, and others in Gaza city and northern Gaza, killing many, including children. Intense hostilities surrounding several hospitals in northern Gaza are preventing safe access for health staff, the injured, and other patients.

“Premature and new-born babies on life support are reportedly dying due to power, oxygen, and water cuts at Al-Shifa Hospital, while others are at risk. Staff across a number of hospitals are reporting lack of fuel, water and basic medical supplies, putting the lives of all patients at immediate risk.

“Over the past 36 days, WHO has recorded at least 137 attacks on health care in Gaza, resulting in 521 deaths and 686 injuries, including 16 deaths and 38 injuries of health workers on duty,” the statement read in part.

Fighting rages in Gaza following Hamas’s shock October 7 attack that triggered a furious response from Israel which has vowed to destroy the Islamist militant group.

About 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed in Israel and almost 240 hostages were taken, according to Israeli officials.

In Gaza, more than 11,000 people, also mostly civilians, have been killed in the war, the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory has said.

(Punch)

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