Doha, Qatar – The Gulf Cooperation Council countries have condemned Israel for committing ‘clear violations’ of international law and reiterated their demand for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.
In a statement issued at the end of the 44th session of the GCC on Tuesday in Doha, 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 added that such actions were ‘in clear violation of international law and international humanitarian law’. The leaders expressed their anguish at the ‘blatant Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people’.
Oman’s delegation was led by Sayyid Fahd bin Mahmoud al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joined as a guest. He condemned Israel’s continued bombardment of the Gaza Strip, saying, “(Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu is committing war crimes against humanity in Gaza. He is pushing the entire region into danger for the sake of his political future.”
Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al Thani, Emir of Qatar and Chairman of the 44th session, expressed his gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik for his efforts in chairing the 43rd session of the GCC Supreme Council and his keenness to ensure the unity of the council and safeguard its accomplishments.
Qatar’s emir called on the UN Security Council to force Israel to return to the negotiating table over the war in Gaza. “It is shameful of 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.
The leaders of the GCC countries warned of the dangers of expanding confrontations and the spread of the conflict to other regions in the Middle East, unless the Israeli aggression stops, “which will lead to dire consequences for the peoples of the region and for international peace and security”.
The leaders called on the international community to intervene to establish a ceasefire and protect Palestinian civilians, and take the necessary measures within international law to respond to Israel’s practices and its policy of collective punishment against the defenceless residents of Gaza.
The council expressed concern over the escalating manifestations of racism and hatred against Arabs and Muslims in several countries, as well as the alarming spread of anti-Islamic discourse, which has created a negative political climate in international relations. They condemned the burning of the Holy Quran and the increasing attacks on Arabs and Muslims.
The council emphasised the importance of concerted efforts to confront this phenomenon politically and diplomatically, strengthening international efforts to combat racism against Arabs and Muslims.
The official delegation of Oman comprised Sayyid Badr bin Hamad al Busaidi, Foreign Minister, Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Qais bin Mohammed al Yousef, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion, Sayyid Ammar bin Abdullah al Busaidi, Ambassador of Oman to Qatar, and Abdullah bin Khalfan al Balushi, Head of the Private Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for the Council of Ministers.