GCC leaders say Israel violating international law in Gaza, demand end to occupation

GCC leaders say Israel violating international law in Gaza, demand end to occupation
The 44th GCC Supreme Council meeting family photo. (SPA)
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Updated 06 December 2023
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GCC leaders say Israel violating international law in Gaza, demand end to occupation

GCC leaders say Israel violating international law in Gaza, demand end to occupation
  • The 44th session of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Qatar was also attended by Turkish President Erdogan
  • Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani says his country is ‘constantly working to renew’ Israel-Hamas truce

RIYADH: Members of the GCC have condemned Israel for committing “clear violations” of international law and reitterated their demand for an end to the Israeli occupatiuon of the Palestinian territories.

In a statement issued at the end of the 44th session of the Gulf Cooperation Council on Tuesday, the leaders of the six nations condemned Israel’s ongoing military actions in Gaza, “which have led to the forced displacement of the civilian population, and the destruction of civilian facilities and infrastructure, including residential buildings, schools, health facilities, and places of worship.”

The statement of decleration went on to say such actions were “in clear violation of international law and international humanitarian law,” and they expressed their dissatisfaction with the “blatant Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people”.

The summit, which was attended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the lead member of the Saudi delegation, was in Qatar.

The representatives of the six Gulf nations were joined by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who said there had been $23bn worth of trade between Turkiye and the GCC countries.

He went on to condemn Israel’s continued bombardment of  the Gaza Strip, adding: “

Netanyahu is committing war crimes against humanity in Gaza.”

And he said that Netanyahu “is pushing the entire region into danger for the sake of his political future.”

The meeting of GCC leaders took place in Qatar as Israeli forces launched their long-awaited storm of the main city in the southern Gaza Strip, where hospitals were overrun with scores of Palestinian dead and wounded.

In what appeared to be the biggest ground assault since the truce collapsed last week, residents said Israeli tanks had entered the eastern parts of Khan Younis for the first time, crossing from the Israeli border fence and advancing west.

Some took up positions inside the town of Bani Suhaila on Khan Younis’ eastern outskirts, while others continued further and were stationed on the edge of a Qatari-funded housing development called Hamad City, residents said.

After days of ordering residents to flee the area, Israeli forces dropped new leaflets on Tuesday with instructions to stay inside shelters during the assault.

“In the coming hours, the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) will begin launching an intensive attack on your area of residence to destroy the terrorist organization Hamas," said the leaflets.

“Don’t move out yet. For your safety, stay in the shelters and the hospitals where you are. Don’t get out. Going out is dangerous. You have been warned.”

But Israel’s bombardment has driven 80 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents from their homes, most fleeing south – an area more densely populated than London.

And according to Gaza health officials deemed reliable by the United Nations, more than 15,800 people are confirmed dead, with thousands more missing and feared buried under rubble.

The declaration went onto to call for the immediate resumption of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip in order to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and the assurance of that all humanitarian aid would reach its intended destinations.

The declaration went onto to call for the immediate resumption of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip in order to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and the assurance of that all humanitarian aid would reach its intended destinations.

The summit pledged its ongoing support for the Palestinian people and its continued support to alleviate the suffering of the residents of the Gaza Strip.

The GCC statement also agreed to help rebuild “what the Israeli war machine destroyed in its attacks on the Strip during the past years.”

The GCC leaders warned that if the war continued there was a danger of the conflict expanding to other regions in the Middle East, something it warned would lead to “dire consequences for the peoples of the region and for international peace and security.”

And they called on the international community to intervene to establish a ceasefire and protect civilians.

The council reiterated its demand for an end to the occupation of Palestine, and its support for the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over all the occupied territories.

It praised Saudi Arabia’s continued efforts and its initiative in partnership with the Arab League, the European Union, the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to revive the peace process, in accordance with international law, United Nations resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani called on the UN Security Council to force Israel to return to the negotiating table over the war in Gaza.

“It is shameful for the international community to allow this heinous crime to continue for nearly two months, during which the systematic and deliberate killing of innocent civilians continues, including women and children,” he said at the summit. 

The Qatari ruler said his country was “constantly working to renew” the truce, which he added was “not an alternative to a permanent ceasefire”.

He called for “an international investigation into the massacres committed by Israel” and condemned the targeting of civilians of all nationalities and religions.

The GCC council released a declaration at the end of the summit, with Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani saying that their primary goal now is to stop the war in Gaza, adding that mediation talks on Gaza are still ongoing.  

The minister reiterated how it is unacceptable to prevent humanitarian aid from reaching the besieged strip.

(With Reuters)


Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record

Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record
Updated 10 sec ago
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Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record

Yanbu festival honors King Salman, breaks world record
  • In honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the record-breaking floral arrangement read “Salman” made from 19,464 roses
  • Saudi calligrapher Hani Mehalawi: I am delighted to be part of this work and set this new world record which honors our beloved king

JEDDAH: Yanbu has set a new Guinness World Record for the largest flower word displayed at the Flower and Garden Festival 2024, which started recently and runs until March 9.

In honor of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman, the record-breaking floral arrangement read “Salman” made from 19,464 roses.

In collaboration with Jubail and Yanbu Industrial Cities Services Co., the masterpiece, which was completed on Feb. 13 by Saudi calligrapher Hani Mehalawi, stood 16 meters wide and six meters tall and is a magnificent work of art.

The entire procedure was overseen by official adjudicators from Guinness World Records, who examined every part of the record attempt from beginning to end.

Mehalawi spoke to Arab News and expressed his joy and happiness in writing the largest flower word. “This feat showed our dedication to our King. With the message behind this initiative being especially close to our hearts, I am indeed delighted to be part of this huge work and set this new world record which honors our beloved king.”

He explained that it took over three days to complete the monumental task of assembling the world’s largest flower word.

“It was a very happy moment for me when the officials of the Flower and Garden Festival asked me to do the work in  short notice but I managed to finish it within few days. My part was to write the name and they filled it with flowers,” he added.

This year’s Flower and Garden Festival also featured the world’s largest flower basket, with 127,224 natural white and red petunia flowers, as well as the world’s largest illuminated flower garden, with a total of 250,000 illuminated flowers. The biennial celebration also featured the largest recyclable vehicle (a space rocket) with a total length of 30,364 meters.


Ukrainian President arrives in Riyadh for an official visit to meet with the Saudi crown prince

Ukrainian President arrives in Riyadh for an official visit to meet with the Saudi crown prince
Updated 30 min 5 sec ago
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Ukrainian President arrives in Riyadh for an official visit to meet with the Saudi crown prince

Ukrainian President arrives in Riyadh for an official visit to meet with the Saudi crown prince

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs
Updated 27 February 2024
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KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

KSrelief, UN officials hold talks on volunteer programs

RIYADH: Officials from Saudi Arabia’s aid agency, KSrelief, and the UN held talks on their respective volunteer programs in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Ali bin Saad Al-Qarni, director of volunteer programs at KSrelief, met with Niels Knudsen, who is the external communications chief for the UN Volunteers program. There were several UN officials present at the meeting.

Al-Qarni said KSrelief has 597 volunteer projects running in 40 countries across the world, which cover health, education, and vocational training.

The projects have benefited more than 1.5 million people.

Al-Qarni also highlighted KSrelief’s efforts in developing the skills of volunteers and humanitarian workers in needy countries around the globe.

Knudsen and Al-Qarni held discussions on future areas of cooperation.


Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart
Updated 27 February 2024
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Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

Saudi source denies reports that commerce minister met Israeli counterpart

RIYADH: An official Saudi source denied on Monday allegations circulating on social media platforms regarding a meeting between Majid Al-Qasabi, Minister of Commerce, and an Israeli occupation official, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The same source said in a statement carried by SPA that the video circulated was while Al-Qasabi was standing with his Nigerian counterpart, prior to the opening of the thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Abu Dhabi.

“The individual shook (the Saudi minister’s) hand and then was introduced, without (Al-Qasabi’s) prior knowledge,” the source told SPA.

This was followed by Israeli media reports claiming that the two discussed peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, with one Israeli outlet running a picture of the two under the heading: “Israeli minister and Saudi counterpart shake hands and discuss ‘making history together.’”

The source also affirmed to SPA Saudi Arabia’s firm position on the Palestinian issue and its steadfast support for the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression.


King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
Updated 26 February 2024
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King Salman given award for services to Arab security

Saudi Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud receives the award on behalf of King Salman in Tunis. (SPA)
  • The award was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud
  • Interior minister said the council is keen to achieve stability and development in the Arab world

RIYADH: King Salman was given the Prince Naif Award for Arab Security on Monday for his services to the security of the Arab community, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Arab Interior Ministers Council conferred the award and it was received by the Kingdom’s Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud in Tunis during a council meeting.  

The minister said the meeting was being held at a time when the Palestinian people are experiencing an unstable security situation which has caused the suffering of thousands of children, women, and the elderly. 

He said that the council, since its inception, is keen to achieve security for Arabs and bring about stability and development.

Prince Abdulaziz said the world is witnessing developments in cyber crime, the misuse of artificial intelligence, and advanced drug trafficking methods. 

These developments have “created fertile ground for the spread of multiple types of organized crime,” armed organizations, and terrorist groups which requires developing plans to invest in infrastructure and support development, education, and capacity building to confront these threats. 

He added that Arab coordination to deal with these threats is important in order to mitigate the possible negative repercussions from such threats.