Today’s Cairo Peace Summit saw Arab leaders condemn Israel’s intensive bombing campaign in Gaza, while Europeans urged for the protection of civilians. However, with the absence of Israel and senior United States (US) officials, no agreement was reached to douse the violence.
The meeting was called by its host nation, with Egypt saying it hoped participants would call for peace and continue efforts to resolve the long term Palestinian mission for statehood.
But Cairo Peace Summit came to a close without leaders and foreign ministers agreeing a joint statement, 15 days into a war that has seen thousands of people killed and brought about a humanitarian catastrophe on the sieged Gaza enclave of 2.3 million people.
With the summit set to the backdrop of Israel preparing a ground invasion of Gaza – aimed at extirpating the terrorist Palestinian group Hamas, who rampaged through Israeli towns on October 7 killing 1,400 people – diplomats were not optimistic of a breakthrough.
Gaza’s Health Ministry said today that Israel’s air and missile strikes had killed more than 4,385 Palestinians since October 7. While Arab and majority Muslim states called for an immediate cessation of aggression from Israel, Western nations voiced more manageable aims, such as providing humanitarian supplies to civilians in Gaza.
Jordan’s King Abdullah scolded what he believed to be a global silence on Israel’s attacks, and called for an even-handed solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
He expressed his outrage and grievance at the acts of violence brought against innocent people in Gaza, the occupied West Bank, and Israel. He said: “The message the Arab world is hearing is that Palestinian lives matter less than Israeli ones.
Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine, said his people would not be displaced or driven off their land. He said: “We won’t leave, we won’t leave.”
Britain and Germany both cautioned Israel’s military, urging it to show restraint. While Italy said it was imperative to avoid escalation and France called for a humanitarian corridor into Gaza. Israel’s closest ally, the US – who have been a significant actor in all past peace efforts in the region – sent only its Cairo charge d’affaires, who did not speak in the meeting.
Trucks carrying medicine and food made their way from Egypt into Gaza this morning.
Cairo Peace Summit Ceasefire Discussion
The Cairo Peace Summit’s aim was to discuss ways in which to avoid a wider regional conflict. However diplomats understood public agreement would be difficult because of sensitivities around calls for a ceasefire and whether to mention Hamas’ attack and Israel’s right to defend itself.
Arab leaders are concerned the attacks on Gaza could push residents permanently from their homes and into neighboring countries. Which is what happened when Palestinians fled or were forced to leave their homes in the 1948 war following Israel’s creation.