44th GCC Summit Final Communique Condemns Attack on Gaza, Affirms Support for Palestinian People -4-

The Supreme Council expressed its support for the initiative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the European Union, and the Arab League to revive the peace process in the Middle East, in collaboration with the Arab Republic of Egypt and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It called on the international community to intervene to halt the targeting of Palestinian presence in Jerusalem, the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem, attempts to alter its legal status, demographic composition, and the arrangements pertaining to Islamic holy sites. It opposed attempts to impose Israeli sovereignty in contravention of international law, existing international resolutions, and agreements on this matter, emphasizing the necessity to refrain from unilateral actions.

The Council condemned the decision of the Israeli government to arm Israeli settlers in the West Bank under official and military protection, resulting in further crimes against Palestinian civilians, targeting their homes, towns, properties, and sacred sites. It also condemned the racist and extremist statements and speeches against the Palestinian people made by several officials in the Israeli government, a clear violation of international humanitarian law, United Nations resolutions, and Security Council Resolution 2686 dated Jun. 14, 2023, regarding countering hate speech and extremism to prevent conflicts.

Additionally, the Council condemned the repeated intrusions by Israeli officials and settlers into the courtyards of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, a serious breach of international law and the historical and legal status in the noble Jerusalem and its sanctities, violating the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque and provoking Muslim sentiments. It underscored that violations and continuous assaults on sanctities exacerbate tension and perpetuate a cycle of ongoing violence, commending the presidential statement issued by the Security Council on Feb. 20, 2023, rejecting the dangerous trends and policies pursued by Israel in the increasing settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories. It reaffirmed its rejection of any move to annex settlements in the West Bank to Israel, a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter, principles of international law, and United Nations resolutions, including Security Council Resolution 2334 of 2016, the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice in 2004, and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.

The Council also denounced Israel’s continued construction of settlement units in the occupied Palestinian territories, urging the international community to pressure Israeli authorities to retract their settlement decisions that defy international laws and resolutions.

The Supreme Council acknowledged the efforts made by Arab countries to achieve national reconciliation to restore Palestinian national unity, reunification, and to secure the interests of the Palestinian people. It commended the generous aid provided by Council member states to support the activities of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and called on the international community to increase its support in light of Israeli attacks on its facilities, enabling it to continue its mission until the return of Palestinian refugees.

Regarding the fight against terrorism and extremism, the Supreme Council reiterated its firm positions and decisions against terrorism from any source, rejecting all its forms, motivations, and justifications, working to cut off its sources of funding and supporting international efforts to combat terrorism, emphasizing that tolerance and coexistence among nations and peoples are among the most important principles and values upon which Council societies are built and in their dealings with other peoples.

The Council also condemned the repeated burning of copies of the Holy Quran in The Hague on Sep. 23, 2023, and in Malmo, Sweden, on Sep. 30, 2023, and in several European countries and others in recent times, allowing extremists to desecrate and burn copies of the Holy Quran. It emphasized the necessity of respecting religions and cultures, enhancing the humanitarian values guaranteed by international law, and the need to hold accountable those responsible for religious hate crimes, rejecting all actions aimed at spreading hatred and extremism.

The Council praised the outcomes of the international conference hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on August 13, 2023, under the title ‘Engaging with Religious Affairs and Fatwa Authorities in the World,’ aimed at consolidating solidarity and cooperation among Islamic countries to combat extremist ideologies, promote values of tolerance, and coexistence among peoples, affirming the lofty message it conveys in spreading the principles of moderation and balance.

It also welcomed the outcomes of the exceptional meeting of the foreign ministers of member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation held on Jul. 31, 2023, called by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the current summit chair, and the Republic of Iraq to discuss the repeated attacks on copies of the Holy Quran in Sweden and Denmark. It stressed the importance of solidifying values of dialogue and respect among peoples and cultures, rejecting anything that promotes hatred and extremism, calling for international efforts to promote these principles in all societies.

The Council commended Security Council Resolution 2686 dated Jun. 14, 2023, which affirmed that hate speech, racism, racial discrimination, hostility toward foreigners, bias, and gender discrimination can contribute to the outbreak of conflicts, urging member states to condemn violence, hate speech, incitement, and extremism.

It reaffirmed the resolution of the United Nations Human Rights Council dated July 12, 2023, on combating religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence, condemning all forms of religious hatred, including incidents of burning and desecration of the Holy Quran, urging countries to adopt national laws, policies to prevent and combat religious hatred, and hold those responsible accountable.

The Council praised the United Nations General Assembly resolution issued unanimously designating Mar. 15 as an International Day to Combat Islamophobia, to spread a culture of religious tolerance, dialogue, and coexistence, commending the results of the ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Jun. 8, 2023, reaffirming the commitment of Council states to continue their efforts within the coalition, supporting international and regional efforts against all terrorist organizations.

The Council emphasized the importance of enhancing the relations of the GCC with sisterly and friendly countries, working with regional and international organizations to combat terrorism and extremism and their dangerous effects and repercussions on the region, threatening Arab national security, destabilizing the region, hindering international efforts to combat terrorism, especially the efforts of the Global Coalition to counter ISIS. (MORE)

Source: Qatar News Agency

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