RIYADH, 12 Nov. Leaders of Arab and Muslim countries opposed the separation of the Palestinian Gaza Strip from the West Bank, emphasizing the need to include these territories, along with East Jerusalem, in an independent Palestinian state, according to the decision of the Arab-Islamic summit held in Riyadh on Saturday.
“Reject any proposals to separate the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and reaffirm that the immediate future of the Gaza Strip must be linked to a comprehensive solution that includes the unity of the lands of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank within an independent, free, sovereign state with its capital in East Jerusalem within the borders of June 1967,” the document notes.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia hosted a joint extraordinary summit with Arab and Muslim leaders to discuss the critical situation in the Gaza Strip, which has been under intense Israeli bombing for more than a month.
On October 7, Israel was subjected to an unprecedented-scale rocket attack from the Gaza Strip as part of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, announced by the military wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement. After this, the organization’s fighters entered the border areas in southern Israel, where they opened fire on both military and civilians, and also took more than 200 hostages. In Israel, according to local authorities, about 1.2 thousand people were killed, including 300 military personnel, and more than 5 thousand were injured.
In response, the Israel Defense Forces launched Operation Iron Swords against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Within a few days, the Israeli military took control of all populated areas near the border with Gaza and began carrying out air strikes on targets, including civilians, in the strip.
At the end of October, the ground phase of the operation to eliminate the Hamas infrastructure in the enclave began. Gaza City was surrounded by Israeli ground forces, and the enclave was effectively divided into southern and northern parts.
The number of victims in the Gaza Strip exceeded 9.7 thousand people, more than 24.8 thousand were injured. The Russian Embassy reported that during the escalation of the conflict, 20 Russians were killed, two were taken hostage, and seven were listed as missing. According to the Israeli army, the confirmed number of Hamas hostages in the Gaza Strip is about 240 people. The movement itself stated that there are about 200-250 prisoners in the Gaza Strip.
The Russian Foreign Ministry called on the parties to stop hostilities. According to the position of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the settlement of the Middle East crisis is possible only on the basis of a “two-state” formula approved by the UN Security Council, which provides for the creation of an independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict, related to the territorial interests of the parties, has been a source of tension and clashes in the region for many decades. A UN decision with the active role of the USSR in 1947 determined the creation of two states – Israel and Palestine, but only the Israeli one was created.