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Arab League calls for peacekeepers in 'occupied Palestinian territories'

At a summit on Thursday, the Arab League called for the deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Palestinian territories, with discussions primarily focused on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Agencies and A News WORLD
Published May 16,2024

The Arab League on Thursday called for a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Palestinian territories at a summit dominated by the ongoing Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

The "Manama Declaration" issued by the 22-member bloc called for "international protection and peacekeeping forces of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian territories" until a two-state solution is implemented.

Irreversible steps towards a two-state solution in Israel and the Palestinian territories must be taken, it said in the summit's final declaration. The annual meeting took place for the first time this year in Manama, the capital of Bahrain.

The Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler of the kingdom, Mohammed bin Salman, emphasized that the "fierce aggression" against the Palestinian brothers must be stopped. It was necessary for the international community to fulfil this responsibility, he said.

In his speech, Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa called for an international peace conference for the Middle East. The summit had taken place under extraordinary circumstances, said the Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Abul Gheit, an Egyptian diplomat.

"The Israeli aggression against the people of Gaza represented a historic turning point. The Arab people would not forget the blind violence of the Israeli occupation," Gheit said in a statement.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres was also present at the summit. He once again called on the parties in the Gaza war to agree on a ceasefire, and described the conflict as "an open wound" that threatened to infect the whole region.

The annual Arab summit also called for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and an international peace conference in the Middle East.

This came in a press conference held by Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit in Manama after the one-day summit.

Aboul-Gheit said the Manama Declaration includes "a call for a cease-fire in Gaza and an international peace conference in the Middle East."

Israel's war on the Gaza Strip dominated the agenda of the summit, which opened in the Bahraini capital early Thursday.

Israel continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the enclave.

More than 35,200 Palestinians have since been killed, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and over 79,200 others injured since last October following a Hamas attack.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of "genocide" at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.