Jerusalem24 – Several Arab leaders reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to an independent Palestinian state at a summit in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday.
The leaders of the six countries comprising the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman – as well as Jordan, Iraq and Egypt, held the summit in Jeddah on matters of regional security and, at the request of attending US President Biden, oil production and bilateral US relations.
Biden was hoping to come away from the summit with a commitment to increase oil production as well as progress in normalizing Arab relations with Israel, nearly two years after the UAE and Bahrain signed the Abraham Accords brokered by the Trump administration.
However, successive Arab leaders dashed those hopes throughout the day with individual statements about Palestinian statehood.
Palestinian Prime Minister Hussein Al-Sheikh reacted to the statements, saying: “We value the firm and historic Arab position on the Palestine issue […] on the necessity of applying international law to end the Israeli occupation and establish an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said there had been no change in Saudi Arabia’s position on normalization, which could only take place after the two-state solution had been implemented. Al-Jubeir explained that the Saudis remain committed in their support of the Arab Peace Initiative, and that “peace with Israel comes at the end of the process, not at the beginning.”
Al-Jubeir pointed out that the signing of the Abraham Accords was an independent decision of those Arab states.
Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said regional instability would continue as long as Israel maintains its occupation of the Palestinian people.
“One of the most important sources of instability will linger unless Israel stops its violation of international law, reflected in the building of settlements, the changes to Jerusalem’s character, and the continued siege on Gaza.”
He stressed that Arab countries have unanimously agreed to the plan laid out in the Arab Peace Initiative.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi stressed the importance of finding a comprehensive, just, and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue, which fulfills both the aspirations and legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
Al-Kadhimi said Israel needed to stop all aggressions, violations, and attacks against Palestinians. He further stressed that resolving the conflict is the only way to achieve stability in the region.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi said, “A fair and inclusive settlement of the Palestinian issue must be reached according to the framework of the two-state solution.”
King of Jordan Abdullah II: “There is no security and stability in the region without solving the Palestinian issue, with the establishment of a Palestinian state according to the ’67 borders.”