Arab Leaders begin Gaza Peace Tour in Beijing
On Monday 20th November, leaders from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia, Palestinian authorities, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other Muslim majority countries arrived in Beijing, for meetings with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi. Their visit was a continuation of a process begun a week earlier in Riyadh, towards building a coalition seeking peace in Gaza and immediate humanitarian assistance.
'China firmly stands with justice and fairness in this conflict'
Addressing the delegation, Wang YI, was outspoken on the position of the Chinese government towards the conflict and continuing onslaught in Gaza. He said:
‘The international community must act urgently, taking effective measures to prevent this tragedy from spreading. China firmly stands with justice and fairness in this conflict’
He later added:
‘Israel should stop its collective punishment on the people of Gaza, and open up a humanitarian corridor as soon as possible to prevent a humanitarian crisis of a larger scale from taking place’
Leading a series of passionate addresses from the different members of the delegation, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, declared:
‘We are here to send a clear signal: that is we must immediately stop the fighting and the killings, we must immediately deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza.’
‘Joint Islamic-Arab Summit’ for peace in Gaza
The meeting followed the earlier ‘extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit which was held in Riyadh last week on 11th November. The Riyadh summit which was attended by senior leaders from across the Arab, Muslim majority world, issued a statement which sought to press the International Criminal Court to investigate: ‘war crimes and crimes against humanity that Israel is committing’ in the Palestinian territories and to urge the US and Israel to cease hostilities and an immediate ceasefire. Delegates included Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi; Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan; Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
On behalf of Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), opened proceedings at the Riyadh conference with a:
‘condemnation and categorical rejection of this barbaric war against our brothers in Palestine’ He added: ‘We are facing a humanitarian catastrophe that proves the failure of the Security Council and the international community to put an end to the flagrant Israeli violations of international laws and prove the dual standards adopted by the world’
'We categorically reject any efforts to displace our people from Gaza and the West Bank'
Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas, who called on the US to use its influence to force a ceasefire, echoed his sentiments. He said the United States must put an end to:
‘Israel’s aggression, the occupation, violation and desecration of our holy sites’ adding that ‘No military and security solutions are acceptable as they have all failed. We categorically reject any efforts to displace our people from Gaza or the West Bank’
The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused Israel of seeking revenge on the babies, women and children of Gaza. He said:
‘What is urgent in Gaza is not pauses for a few hours, rather we need a permanent ceasefire. We cannot put Hamas resisters defending their homeland in the same category as the occupiers’
The delegates arranged the visit to China as part of a tour designed to meet officials from each of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, are hopeful that they can garner support ‘from all countries that are responsible and appreciate the seriousness of the situation’.
US receives warnings that it could lose Arab public support for a generation
The leaked contents of a diplomatic cable which were published last week, revealed that the White House has received a number of stark warnings from its American diplomats across the Arab world, indicating that its strong support for Israel’s ‘deadly and destructive military campaign in Gaza’ may lose the Arab public support for more than a generation.
One cable from the US Embassy in Oman read:
‘We are losing badly on the messaging battle space’
Increasingly news reports are indicating that despite a public show of solidarity with Israel from the US President, Joe Biden, behind the scenes tensions are escalating as the death toll in the Gaza Strip continues to rise.
US President, Joe Biden's patience with Israel is starting to wear thin
The recent brutal assault on the Al Shifa Hospital, was justified in the eyes of Western governments, on the basis that a Hamas ‘control and command centre’ was operating from beneath the hospital in a labyrinth of tunnels. News reports have detailed the shocking invasion of Israeli troops and the evacuation of patients in wheelchairs and wheeled beds at gunpoint. The world has listened to the horrifying story of the death of babies who had to be removed from their incubators because of a lack of fuel. Several mainstream and high profile news outlets have started to ask where the supposed 2,000 Hamas fighters have evaporated to, as increasingly Israel’s claims have not been supported by hard evidence and are seen as mere propaganda. Crucially, the US has made clear that it does not support Israel’s re-occupation of Gaza and the West Bank – which Biden has openly said will be ‘ a big mistake’. The US abstaining from a crucial UN vote at the end of last week, towards a prolonged humanitarian pause, which historically it has vetoed, is a sign that their patience is starting to wear thin.