NEW YORK CITY: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reiterated its “clear” condemnation of the targeting of civilians, “whoever they may be.” It came as the Kingdom called for an end to the escalation of military operations in Gaza, a “stop to the bloodshed,” the release of hostages, and respect for international laws and conventions.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said his country, alongside “friendly and brotherly nations,” have made every effort to achieve those goals and end the cycle of violence.
“The Palestinian people are suffering under the blockade and the ongoing escalation of the Israeli war machine,” he said.
“(Military operations) continue to target (Palestinian) civilian facilities, schools, hospitals, infrastructure. They have claimed the lives of thousands of civilians, including women, children and the elderly. They have injured thousands of civilians.
“The failure of the international community, to this very day, to end this collective punishment by the Israeli occupation forces against the residents of Gaza, and their attempts to forcibly displace them, will not bring us any closer to security and stability.”
The prince was speaking during a high-level meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the war in Gaza. It was hosted by Brazil, which holds the rotating presidency of the council this month. Attendees included UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, relatives of Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas, and representatives of more than 85 nations.
“We hold this meeting under painful circumstances, following dangerous developments in the Gaza strip that claimed the lives of thousands of civilians,” Prince Faisal said as he warned of an imminent humanitarian catastrophe and dangerous repercussions for the security of the region and the wider world.
He said the council’s silence on the Palestinian issue has been “ongoing for decades” and is unacceptable.
“This council bears the responsibility of its complacency, the cost of this crisis, the losses of lives and property, and the threats to the security and stability of the region,” said Prince Faisal.
“Maintaining international peace and security is at the forefront of the functions of this council. However, today we see that it is unable to carry out its role. It is late in reaching a resolution that would address this crisis, as Israel continues with its violations of international conventions, including international humanitarian law. This cast doubt on the credibility of the mechanisms of international legitimacy.”
He called on members of the council to shoulder the responsibility for which it was created, and urged the international community to take a firm stance on ending the military operations in Gaza, preventing the conflict from escalating, protecting civilians, and ending the blockade on the territory so that aid, including medicine, food and water, can reach those in need.
The prince lamented the double standards and “selectivity” in the application of UN rules and resolutions, warning that the lack of accountability for the ongoing escalation risks fueling “further violence, further destruction — it will lead to further extremism.”
He laid the blame for the ongoing cycles of violence on failure to implement UN resolutions, and underscored the need to acknowledge the root causes of the long-running Israeli-Palestininan conflict. Failure to do so, he added, will hamper any chances of reaching a durable solution to the conflict, and bringing peace and security to the region.
“We need to seriously revive the peace process,” said Prince Faisal. “We are working for a better future for our region. We do hope that the region will enjoy peace, that prosperity will be guaranteed for all and a better future will be guaranteed for the peoples of the region and succeeding generations.
“This is the peace that we aspire to: A sustainable peace that would guarantee the two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state along the lines of 1967, that would achieve security stability and prosperity for all.”