Arab and Muslim ministers, currently on a diplomatic mission in Beijing, are urgently advocating for a ceasefire in Gaza. Their primary objective is to halt hostilities and facilitate the delivery of essential humanitarian aid to the severely affected Palestinian enclave.
During this diplomatic tour, the delegation plans to engage with representatives from each of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. Their concerted efforts are directed at exerting pressure on the Western nations to refute Israel's claim of self-defense as a justification for its actions against Palestinians. The delegation seeks international support to address the ongoing crisis and alleviate the humanitarian challenges faced by the people in Gaza.
Representatives from Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Indonesia, Palestine, and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation held meetings with China's top diplomat, Wang Yi. "We are here to send a clear signal: that is we must immediately stop the fighting and the killings, we must immediately deliver humanitarian supplies to Gaza," said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
In Riyadh this month, an extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit called for urgent action, urging the International Criminal Court to investigate the "war crimes and crimes against humanity" committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, spearheaded efforts to compel the United States and Israel to cease hostilities in Gaza. To amplify this message, he convened Arab and Muslim leaders during the summit, underscoring the collective call for an end to the ongoing conflict.
The Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, conveyed his comments to his Chinese counterpart through a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, as stated by his ministry. The Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, conveyed his comments to his Chinese counterpart through a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, as stated by his ministry.
About 240 hostages were taken during Hamas's cross-border rampage into Israel, leading to Israel's invasion of the Gaza Strip to eliminate the Islamist militant group. The Hamas-run government in Gaza reported that, since the incursion, at least 13,000 Palestinians, including at least 5,500 children, have been killed in Israeli bombardments.
Israeli Ambassador to Beijing, Irit Ben-Abba, stated in a briefing for foreign reporters that she expressed the hope for no statements regarding a ceasefire during the visit, emphasizing that it is not the appropriate time. She indicated Israel's desire for the delegation to address the hostages captured by Hamas and call for their immediate release without preconditions. Additionally, she suggested discussions about Egypt's role in facilitating humanitarian assistance between the involved parties.
China's Wang said Beijing was a "good friend and brother of Arab and Muslim countries," adding it has "always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights and interests."
China's foreign ministry has consistently avoided condemning Hamas, calling for de-escalation and advocating a "two-state solution" for an independent Palestine. President Xi, in a post-COVID diplomatic push, aims to counter the influence of the United States and its allies. China has strengthened ties with non-Western multilateral groups like BRICS and enhanced relationships in the Middle East and the Global South.
Image source: Reuters