Cairo Summit Rejects Targeting Civilians, Calls for Securing Humanitarian Aid to Gaza Strip

Cairo:  Cairo Summit for Peace, which was held in Cairo on 21 October 2023, issued a communique in the backdrops of the escalation that began on 7 October 2023 both in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, especially in the Gaza Strip, and in response to the growing number of innocent civilian casualties and the flagrant violation of the international law and international humanitarian law.

The communique was issued by foreign ministers of the Sultanate of Oman, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the State of Qatar, the State of Kuwait, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Kingdom of Morocco.

The communique condemned all violations and transgressions of the international law and the human rights law by any party, the targeting of infrastructure and civilian facilities, the forced displacement of individuals or groups and the policy of collective punishment.

The communique also denounced any attempts to liquidate the Palestinian cause or to the relocation of the Palestinian people outside their land in any way, considering such action a grave violation of the international humanitarian law and a war crime. It laid emphasis on action to ensure full respect for the Geneva Conventions of 1949, including the responsibilities of the occupying power. It called for the immediate release of hostages and civilian detainees, as well as measures to ensure the safe and humanitarian treatment for hostages and civilian detainees in accordance with international law, notably through the role of the International Committee of Red Cross.

The communique stressed that the right to self-defence guaranteed by the United Nations Charter does not justify flagrant violations of international law and international humanitarian law or the deliberate neglect of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self-determination and the termination of the decades-long occupation of their lands. In this context, the communique called on the Security Council to oblige the parties concerned to apply an immediate and sustainable ceasefire.

The communique cautioned that failure to admit the existence of flagrant violations of the international humanitarian law offers green light to the continuation of such negative practices.

The communique called for action to ensure and facilitate the rapid, safe, sustainable and unobstructed transfer of humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip in accordance with global humanitarian principles. It also called for mobilization of additional resources in cooperation with the United Nations and its affiliated organizations and agencies, notably the UNRWA.

The communique expressed deep concern about the probability of current confrontations expanding to other regions in the Middle East. In this context, it urged all parties to exercise utmost restraint, noting that the expansion of the conflict will have serious consequences for the peoples of the region and for international peace and security.

The communique voiced deep concern about the escalation of violence in the West Bank. It called on the international community to back the Palestinian National Authority and provide financial support to the Palestinian people.

The communique affirmed that the absence of a political solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has led to repeated acts of violence and suffering for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples and the peoples of the region.

The communique urged the international community, especially the Security Council, to shoulder its responsibilities, seek peace in the Middle East and make rapid, real and collective efforts to resolve the conflict. It also called for implementing the Two-State Solution on the basis of relevant United Nations resolutions and ensuring the establishment of an independent, sovereign and intact Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the borders that prevailed prior to 4 June 1967.

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