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Cairo Peace Summit ends without Gaza breakthrough

Arab leaders gathered at a summit in Cairo and expressed their condemnation of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza. European countries also called for the protection of civilians. However, due to the absence of Israel and senior U.S. officials, no agreement was reached to contain the violence.

Egypt, the host of the meeting, had hoped that the participants would call for peace and resume efforts to resolve the long-standing Palestinian quest for statehood. Unfortunately, the meeting concluded without leaders and foreign ministers agreeing on a joint statement. This comes after two weeks of conflict that has resulted in thousands of deaths and a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Diplomats attending the talks were not optimistic about a breakthrough, as Israel was preparing for a ground invasion of Gaza to eliminate the militant group Hamas. The death toll in Gaza has reached 4,385, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

While Arab and Muslim states demanded an immediate end to Israel’s offensive, Western countries focused more on providing humanitarian relief to civilians. Jordan’s King Abdullah criticized the global silence regarding Israel’s attacks and called for an even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed that Palestinians would not be displaced or driven off their land. France proposed the establishment of a humanitarian corridor into Gaza as a step towards a ceasefire. Other countries, such as Britain, Germany, and Italy, emphasized the importance of avoiding escalation and showing restraint.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, only sent its Cairo charge d’affaires to the meeting, who did not address the gathering publicly.

The main goal of the summit, according to European Council President Charles Michel, was to listen to each other and work together on issues such as the humanitarian situation, regional escalation, and the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Israel has vowed to eliminate the Hamas militant group following their deadly assault on October 7. Israel claims to have advised Palestinians to move south within Gaza for their safety, but Israeli air strikes have also targeted the southern region.

The summit aimed to prevent a wider regional war. However, reaching a public agreement was challenging due to sensitivities surrounding calls for a ceasefire, mentioning Hamas’ attack, and Israel’s right to self-defense.

Arab states are concerned that the offensive could lead to the permanent displacement of Gaza residents and potentially force them into neighboring countries, similar to what happened in the 1948 war. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi opposed the displacement of Palestinians into Egypt’s Sinai region and emphasized the need for an independent Palestinian state.

Egypt is particularly concerned about insecurity near the border with Gaza in northeastern Sinai, where it has faced an Islamist insurgency. Jordan, home to many Palestinian refugees, fears that a wider conflict could result in mass expulsions of Palestinians from the West Bank.

Shortly before the summit, trucks loaded with humanitarian aid began entering Gaza through the Rafah crossing, which is not controlled by Israel. Egypt has been working to provide humanitarian relief to Gaza through this access point.

In conclusion, the Cairo summit highlighted the condemnation of the Israeli bombardment of Gaza by Arab leaders and the call for renewed efforts to achieve Israeli-Palestinian peace. However, the absence of key stakeholders and the lack of a joint statement indicate the challenges in containing the violence and resolving the conflict.



This post first appeared on Rush Hour Daily, please read the originial post: here

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Cairo Peace Summit ends without Gaza breakthrough

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