The Significance and Objectives of the Joint  Arab Islamic Summit


On November 11, Saudi Arabia hosted the Arab Islamic Summit in which members of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) participated. The summit took place against the backdrop of increased tensions in Gaza and rising casualties. Initially intended for participation by Arab League members only, the summit expanded to include members of the OIC  as both summits were due to take place. The summit  expressed  Arab dissatisfaction  regarding Western powers’ inability and inadequate response to Israeli aggression and excesses in Gaza.

In the wake of this successful summit, Arab and Islamic nations  forged a unified front, displaying complete consensus in condemning Israel’s  belligerency in Gaza. The final statement  emphasized the exclusive right of Muslims to worship  at Al Aqsa Mosque and  praised the efforts to address Israeli occupation. Additionally, it also denounced extremist rhetoric and threats by Israeli ministers, viewing them as a serious threat to international peace. The Arab and Islamic nations also called for a decisive UN Security Council (UNSC)  resolution to halt Israel’s aggression and  address its brutality in Gaza.

Despite political differences on various issues, the Arab world has rallied unanimously against Israeli aggression, marking a pivotal moment in regional diplomacy. One notable outcome of the summit was the historic visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Saudi Arabia which is significant considering the rapprochement deal between the two and the influence that they wield in the region.  The summit resolutely rejected Israel’s justification of “self-defense” for the Gaza war. 

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman expressed strong condemnation of Israeli attacks, emphasizing Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the “barbaric war against Palestinian brothers.” In his opening speech, he reiterated the demands for an immediate cessation of military operations, the establishment of humanitarian corridors for civilian aid, and the unhindered functioning of international humanitarian organizations. Additionally, he also called for the release of hostages and detainees, the protection of innocent civilians, and coordinated efforts to address the dire situation in Gaza. Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit during the summit highlighted Israel’s longstanding objective of displacing or eliminating residents in the Gaza Strip and called for coordinated efforts to stop Israel.

The call for a decisive UNSC resolution reflects a concerted effort to involve the international community  to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. China’s role in this context has become very significant. As a permanent member of the UNSC, China’s intervention  is crucial, especially in countering the unwavering support that Western powers continue to extend to Israel. The subsequent visit of Arab and Islamic leaders to China underscores the urgency of seeking a united global front against Israeli violations of international law. Beijing’s rejection of the US proposal for “humanitarian pauses” aligns with the Arab world’s emphasis on an immediate ceasefire. The committee formed during the summit is strategically aimed at persuading Western nations to shift their pro-Israel stance. Diplomats are focusing on countries with changing positions on the Palestinian issue, emphasizing the importance of engaging with Russia and China to address the crisis effectively.

The resolution that was adopted at the end of the summit called on all countries to stop exporting weapons and ammunition to the occupation authorities “that are used by their army and terrorist settlers to kill the Palestinian people and destroy their homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches and all their capabilities.” The resolution also said, “We warn of the real danger of the expansion of the war as a result of Israel’s refusal to stop its aggression and of the inability of the UNSC to enforce international law to end this aggression.” Furthermore, the resolution called on “the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to complete the investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by Israel against the Palestinian people in all the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Al-Quds.” The aforesaid reflects the Arab world’s emphasis on underscoring the importance of international organizations and its warning to the global community in case international law continues to be trampled on by Israel. This concern has also been expressed by the UNHRC and various human rights organizations.

As the Arab world strategically moves to exert pressure on the West by turning to China and Russia, challenges exist within the  Arab Islamic coalition. Although there was unanimous collective criticism of Israel, disagreements emerged concerning punitive and collective measures against Israel. In this evolving landscape, the Arab and Islamic nations are attempting to navigate a delicate balance, leveraging their relationship with China and Russia to address immediate humanitarian concerns in Gaza while calling out Israel for its blatant violations of international law. The shifting dynamics underscore the complexities of regional alliances and the multifaceted approach required to address the longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict. As a result of the consensus achieved during the summit, a delegation from the  Arab and Islamic nations reached out to the five permanent member states of the UNSC with the specific objective of facilitating a sustainable ceasefire,  enhancing the delivery of humanitarian aid to the  Gazan population, and seeking moral and political support for the Palestinians.

Editorial Team