16 May 2024

33rd Arab Summit/ Bahrain Declaration Stresses Centrality of Palestinian Cause

  • QNA_ARAB-FINAL0160402024

Manama, May 16 (QNA) - The Bahrain Declaration issued by the 33rd regular session of the Arab League Council at the summit level, the Bahrain Summit, which was held in Al Sakhir Palace in the Kingdom of Bahrain today, affirmed the firm and supportive Arab position on the Palestinian issue, stressing it as the central issue and the backbone of peace and stability in the region. It also stressed categorical rejection of all attempts to displace the Palestinian people inside or outside their land, as a clear violation of international law, and that such efforts will be confronted collectively.

The declaration strongly condemned all illegal Israeli measures and practices that target the brotherly Palestinian people and deprive them of their right to freedom, state, life and human dignity guaranteed by international laws. The declaration reiterated the leaders' firm position and call for a just and comprehensive peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue, and their support of the call of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to convene an international peace conference and to take irreversible steps to implement the two-state solution in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and resolutions of international legitimacy to establish an independent and sovereign Palestinian state on the lines of Jun 4, 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to accept its membership in the United Nations as an independent and fully sovereign state in common with other countries in the world, and to ensure the restoration of all legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, in particular, the right to return and self-determination, empowerment and support.

They called on the international community to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions issued since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, including resolution 2720, and urged the United Nations Senior Humanitarian Coordinator to expedite the establishment and activation of the UN mechanism stipulated in the resolution to be established inside the Gaza Strip to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid, and to overcome all obstacles imposed by Israel to the entry of aid in sufficient quantities to respond to the humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip. The statement also called for the co-ordination of a joint Arab effort to provide humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip urgently and immediately, in co-operation with the relevant United Nations organizations.

In the same context, the statement strongly condemned Israel's obstruction of ceasefire efforts in the Gaza Strip and its continued military escalation through the expansion of its aggression against the Palestinian city of Rafah, despite international warnings of catastrophic humanitarian consequences. The statement also condemned the Israeli forces' control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing with the aim of tightening the siege on civilians in the Strip, noting that this has led to the suspension of the crossing's functioning and the cessation of the flow of humanitarian aid, and the loss of the main lifeline of the Palestinian population of Gaza, and called on Israel to withdraw from Rafah, in order to ensure safe humanitarian access.

The statement Emphasized the need to immediately halt the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, the withdrawal of the Israeli occupation forces from all areas of the Strip, the lifting of the siege imposed on it, the removal of all obstacles and the opening of all crossings for the entry of adequate humanitarian assistance throughout it, and enabling United Nations organizations, especially the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to operate, and to provide them with financial support to carry out their responsibilities freely and securely. The statement reiterated the Arab countries' categorical rejection of any attempts to forcibly displace the Palestinian people from their land in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and called for urgent action for an immediate and permanent ceasefire, an end to the aggression in the Gaza Strip, protection of civilians and the release of hostages and detainees.

The statement reaffirmed the importance of the continuation of the Arab-Islamic Joint Ministerial Committee in its efforts aimed at stopping the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, ending the humanitarian catastrophe afflicting over 2.3 million Palestinian citizens, and mobilizing an international position in support of the right of the brotherly Palestinian people to live in security, safety and freedom in their independent and sovereign State on their national soil, thanking the committee in this regard for its efforts at the regional and international level, as well as the efforts of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States in preparing and arranging for the 33rd Summit.

The statement expressed the condolences of Arab leaders to the State of Kuwait and its brotherly people on the death of the late Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the late Amir of Kuwait, may God rest his soul, and congratulated HH Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, on His Highness's assumption of the reins of power in the State of Kuwait, wishing His Highness success and the people of Kuwait development and prosperity. The statement also expressed appreciation for the fine efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during its presidency of the 32nd Arab Summit, and its generous endeavors to unify efforts, support joint Arab action, enhance regional security, and defend the interests of Arab countries and their peoples. 

The declaration called on the international community to fulfil its legal obligations and take decisive measures to end the Israeli occupation of the Arab territories occupied in June 1967, including the occupied Syrian Golan and southern Lebanon, and to implement the relevant Security Council resolutions.

The declaration stressed the need for Israel, as the occupying Power, to cease all its illegal actions that violate the rights of the Palestinian people and undermine the two-State solution and the prospects for a just and comprehensive peace in the region, including the construction and expansion of settlements, the confiscation of Palestinian land and the displacement of Palestinians from their homes. Arab countries also stressed the need to halt all Israeli military operations and settler terrorism against the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank and to end all measures that impede the growth of the Palestinian economy, including the withholding of Palestinian funds, in violation of international law, international humanitarian law and resolutions of international legitimacy.

The declaration stressed the sanctity of the occupied city of Jerusalem and its place among the monotheistic religions. We reject and condemn all Israeli attempts aimed at the Judaization of Jerusalem, changing its Arab, Islamic and Christian identity, or changing the historical and legal status quo in it and its holy sites, whilst also stressing the need to protect the holy places in Bethlehem and to not compromise its cultural identity and religious sanctity.

"We affirm our support for the historic Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, and its role in protecting its Arab, Islamic and Christian identity, as well as its role in protecting the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem and its holy sites, noting that the Al-Aqsa Mosque / Al-Haram Al-Sharif with its entire area of 144,000 square meters, is a place of worship exclusively for Muslims, emphasising that the Jordanian Directorate of Jerusalem Endowments and the Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs is the exclusive legitimate body with jurisdiction to manage the affairs of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, and to maintain it and regulate entry to it," the declaration added. 

Arab states reaffirmed their support for the role of the chairmanship of the Al-Quds Committee and the Bayt Mal Al-Quds Al-Sharif Agency, chaired by HM King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco.

They expressed grave concern over the recent military escalation in the region and the seriousness of its repercussions for regional security and stability. The declaration called on all parties to exercise restraint and spare the region and its peoples the dangers of war and the increase in tension, and called on the UN Security Council to assume its responsibility towards the maintenance of international peace and security, and to work to implement its resolutions related to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, and to prevent the escalation of the crisis and the expansion of conflict in the Middle East.

It called on the international community to assume its responsibilities to follow-up efforts to advance the peace process to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution, which embodies an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the lines of the fourth of June 1967, able to live in security and peace alongside Israel in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and established references, including the Arab Peace Initiative.

The statement called for the deployment of United Nations international protection and peacekeeping forces in the occupied Palestinian territory until the two-state solution is implemented.
In this context, the declaration stressed the responsibility of the Security Council in taking clear measures to implement the two-state solution, and the need to set a time limit for the political process, and for a resolution to be issued by the Security Council under Chapter VII to establish an independent, sovereign, viable and contiguous Palestinian state on the lines of the fourth of June 1967 with East Jerusalem as its capital, and to end any occupation presence on its territory, while holding Israel responsible for the destruction of cities and civilian facilities in the Gaza Strip.

Arab states welcomed the decision of the UN General Assembly at its meeting on May 10, 2024 on the request of the State of Palestine to obtain full membership of the United Nations, supported by 143 countries, and called on the United Nations Security Council to reconsider its resolution issued in this regard in its session on April 18, 2024. They called on the Council to be fair and supportive of the rights of the Palestinian people to life, freedom and human dignity, and to work to implement its resolutions related to the Palestinian issue and the occupied Arab territories. The Arab states expressed its valuing of the positions of the countries which have recognized the State of Palestine, and those which have announced that they will recognize it.

The declaration called on all Palestinian factions to join together under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and to agree on a comprehensive national project and a unified strategic vision to focus efforts towards achieving the aspirations of the Palestinian people to achieve their legitimate rights and establish their independent national State on their national soil, on the basis of the two state solution, and in accordance with the resolutions of international legitimacy and established references.

As for Sudan, the Arab countries expressed their full solidarity with the brotherly Republic of Sudan in preserving its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and preserving the institutions of the Sudanese state, foremost of which are the armed forces. The declaration called for commitment to the implementation of the Jeddah Declaration in order to reach a ceasefire that guarantees the opening of humanitarian relief channels and the protection of civilians. It also urged the Sudanese government and the Rapid Support Forces to engage seriously and effectively with initiatives aimed at settling the crisis, including through the Jeddah platform, neighboring countries and others, in order to end the ongoing conflict, restore security and stability in Sudan and end the plight of the brotherly Sudanese people.

Reaffirm the need to end the Syrian crisis, in line with Security Council Resolution 2254, in a way that preserves Syria's security, sovereignty and territorial integrity, achieves the aspirations of its people, rids it of terrorism, and provides an environment for the dignified, safe and voluntary return of refugees. We reject interference in Syria's internal affairs and any attempts to bring about demographic changes in it.

The declaration stressed the importance of the role of the Arab Liaison Committee and the Arab initiative to resolve the crisis and the need to implement the Amman Communique. It also supported the efforts of the United Nations in this regard. The declaration highlighted the need to find conditions to ensure the dignified, safe and voluntary return of Syrian refugees to their country, including the lifting of unilateral coercive measures imposed on Syria, and the need for the international community to continue to shoulder its responsibilities towards them and to support host countries until their dignified, safe and voluntary return to Syria is achieved, in accordance with international standards. We warn of the repercussions of declining international support for Syrian refugees and their host countries.

As for Yemen, the Arab leaders renewed their firm support for the Presidential Leadership Council of the Republic of Yemen headed by HE Dr. Rashad Mohammed Al Alimi, and support the efforts of the Yemeni government in its endeavor to achieve national reconciliation among all components of the brotherly Yemeni people, as well as Yemeni unity to achieve security and stability in the country. We also support UN and regional efforts aimed at reaching a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis in accordance with the internationally established references represented by the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue and Security Council Resolution No. 2216, in order to achieve our collective goal to achieve the legitimate aspirations of the brotherly Yemeni people for peace, stability, development and prosperity.



General, Arab Affairs, Arab League, Arab league council
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