‘Riyadh Statement’ calls for urgent truce

The ‘Riyadh Statement’ comes as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to launch a ground attack on Rafah “with or without” a deal with Hamas….reports Asian Lite News

Arab and European ministers have highlighted critical priorities in addressing the ongoing conflict in Gaza, following a meeting in Riyadh, on Tuesday.

This came in the ‘Riyadh Statement’, issued following the meeting of the ministerial committee tasked by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit on the developments in the Gaza Strip where foreign ministers and representatives of European countries participated to discuss the urgent need to end the war in Gaza and take the necessary steps to implement the two-state solution.

The Statement affirmed support for all efforts aimed at ensuring an immediate ceasefire, the release of prisoners and hostages, and ending the war in Gaza while putting an end to all unilateral illegal measures and violations in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, as well as addressing the catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

It also stressed the importance of transitioning to a political track to reach a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The statement emphasised the importance of taking concrete steps towards establishing the Palestinian state within the context of the two-state solution were discussed, and the urgent need to take such steps and the importance of coordinating positions.

The meeting also discussed the issue of recognising the Palestinian State by the countries that have not yet done so, and the timing and context of this recognition.

The meeting stressed, according to the statement, the importance and necessity of adopting a comprehensive approach towards a credible and irreversible path to implementing the two-state solution in accordance with international law and agreed-upon standards, including UN Security Council resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, and other relevant initiatives.

This is in order to achieve a just and lasting peace that meets the rights of the Palestinian people, the security of Israel and the region in a way that will pave the way for normal relations between states in a region where stability, security, peace and cooperation prevail.

The meeting also stressed, according to the statement, the need to intensify support for state-building efforts and support for the new Palestinian government, and the importance of having a single Palestinian government in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and Gaza.

Rafah attack looms

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to launch a ground attack on Rafah “with or without” a deal with Hamas.

Speaking in a meeting with families of hostages, Netanyahu said on Tuesday that Israel has begun the evacuation of Palestinian civilians from Rafah, according to his office as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

“We will enter Rafah and eliminate Hamas battalions there, with or without a deal, to achieve the total victory,” he added.

Israel considers Rafah as Hamas’s last major stronghold in the Palestinian enclave.

Rafah is Gaza’s southernmost city, where about 1.2 million Palestinians have been seeking shelter.

The remarks were made as Israeli and Hamas negotiators were in Egyptian-brokered talks on a deal for a ceasefire for the nearly seven-month-long Gaza conflict, that will secure the release of hostages.

Cairo talks

During the ongoing negotiations in Cairo on a ceasefire in the Gaza war, details have emerged about a proposal for an agreement submitted by Hamas.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing Egyptian officials, that the proposal – which Israel was involved in drafting but has yet to approve – envisages two stages.

The first stage would involve the release of at least 20 hostages within three weeks in exchange for an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners. The duration could be extended by one day for each additional hostage, it said.

A second stage would include a 10-week ceasefire in which Hamas and Israel would agree to a more extensive release of hostages and a longer pause in fighting that could last up to a year.

“Israel has gone above and beyond in showing flexibility to reach a deal,” the Times of Israel newspaper quoted an Israeli official as saying on Tuesday. For example, the number of hostages to be released by Hamas in the first step has been reduced.

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