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Islamic nations grouping calls 'urgent extraordinary meeting' on Israel-Gaza conflict OIC
Image: UN News/Ziad Taleb

Islamic nations grouping calls 'urgent extraordinary meeting' on Israel-Gaza conflict

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 14 Oct 2023, 10:50 pm

Jeddah (Saudi Arabia): A high-level coalition of Islamic nations has summoned an "urgent extraordinary meeting" in Saudi Arabia to deliberate on the Israel-Gaza conflict, AFP reported.

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) aims to tackle the "escalation of military actions" and the "endangerment of vulnerable civilians in Gaza".

Saudi Arabia, currently presiding over the ongoing session of the Islamic Summit, has extended invitations to member nations for this gathering scheduled in Jeddah on Wednesday.

"At the invitation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia... the Organisation's Executive Committee is convening an urgent open-ended extraordinary meeting at the ministerial level, to address the escalating military situation in Gaza and its environs as well as the deteriorating conditions that endanger the lives of civilians and the overall security and stability of the region," the OIC said in a statement on its website.

The OIC, a 57-member nation grouping across four continents, positions itself as the unified representation of the global Muslim community.

This summoning of an emergency meeting aligns with Saudi Arabia's decision to halt discussions over the potential normalization of relations with Israel.

The conflict initiated by a substantial assault from Hamas on October 7 resulted in 1,300 casualties, subsequently triggering a retaliatory bombing operation that has claimed the lives of at least 2,215 individuals in the Gaza Strip.

There is the looming possibility of an Israeli ground incursion into the region.

"Saudi Arabia has decided to pause discussion on possible normalisation and has informed US officials," a source familiar with the discussions told news agency AFP.

Saudi Arabia, where Islam's most sacred sites are located, has historically refrained from acknowledging Israel and abstained from the 2020 Abraham Accords brokered by the US, which led Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Morocco to formalize relations with Israel.

The Biden administration had been pressing Saudi Arabia to follow suit.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler, had outlined conditions for normalization, including security assurances from the US and assistance in developing a civilian nuclear program.

Since Hamas initiated its attack on Israel, Riyadh has expressed growing concern for the well-being of Palestinians in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip. Israel has launched a barrage of strikes and ordered evacuations in the northern region of the territory, prompting thousands to seek refuge.

On Friday, Saudi Arabia strongly condemned the displacement of Palestinians within Gaza and assaults on unarmed civilians, marking its most forceful criticism of Israel since the conflict erupted.

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