Participants in the Cairo Summit for Peace called on Saturday for a ceasefire between Gaza and Israel and ensuring the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, now suffering continuous bombardment by Israel since 7 October.
The summit participants also expressed fears from widening the scope of the current violence between Hamas and Israel, in ways that might make the current conflict morph into a regional war that burns everybody’s fingers, not only in the region, but also across the world.
The summit, hosted by President Abdel Fattah El Sisi in the New Administrative Capital, brought together the leaders, prime ministers and foreign ministers of 34 countries, along with the heads of three international organizations.
They all converged onto the New Capital to call for a cessation of hostilities between the Palestinians and the Israelis and the protection of civilians on both sides.
The summit was held as the violence kept increasing in intensity, claiming more victims, especially on the Palestinian side, given the ferocity of Israel’s response to the October 7 attacks on southern Israel settlements by the Gaza-ruling Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
So far, over 4,000 Gaza residents have been killed, mostly women, children and elderly people.
Israeli bombardment especially focuses on residential areas, hospitals and Muslim and Christian houses of worship, showing the ugly nature of the war and highlighting the need for international action to stop the resultant bloodbath.
Addressing the summit, President Sisi said the current challenging time tests the humanity of the international community.
“It tests the depth of our faith in the value of human beings and their right to life,” the Egyptian leader said.
“The principles we profess to support are also called into question in these difficult times,” he added.
He expressed Egypt’s condemnation in the clearest terms attacks against peaceful civilians and its deep shock that the world stands idly by and watches while a catastrophic humanitarian situation unfolds in Gaza.
The president noted that almost 2.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are subjected to what he described as ‘collective punishment’.
“They live under siege and face starvation and the ferocious pressure of enforced displacement,” President Sisi said of the residents of Gaza.
He called for providing international protection for the Palestinian people, especially innocent civilians.
President Sisi was keen to reiterate his rejection of the transfer of the residents of Gaza outside their land to other countries.
“I want to state it clearly and unequivocally to the world, and articulate in sincere terms the will of all Egyptians: the liquidation of the Palestinian cause without a just solution is beyond the realm of possibility,” President Sisi said.
“In all cases, it will never happen at the expense of Egypt, absolutely not,” he added.
Since the beginning of the current crisis, Egypt has worked to alleviate the suffering of the residents of Gaza and find a way out of the current escalation.
Egyptian authorities have brought together hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian aid, including food, medicines, medical supplies and fuel and put them close to the Rafah crossing point near the border with Gaza in preparation for entering them into the blockaded Palestinian territory.
Twenty trucks carrying medicines and essential supplies entered Gaza at 10:00 pm yesterday, in the light of an agreement between President Sisi and US President Joe Biden, in coordination with the United Nations.
Egypt and the UN have expressed hopes that the aid would continue to trickle into Gaza to meet the growing needs of the people of the coastal enclave, especially with Israel cutting off all essential supplies since the beginning of its current campaign.
Most of the leaders and the delegation heads speaking in the summit yesterday called for establishing a Palestinian state that stands side by side with Israel.
These two states, they said, also need to live together in peace.
King Abdullah II of Jordan also expressed opposition to the liquidation of the Palestinian issue by forcing the Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank to leave their land and seek refuge in neighbouring countries, especially Egypt and Jordan.
The enforced transfer of the Palestinians, he said, is a war crime.
“This is a redline for the Jordanians,” King Abdullah said.
He criticised Israel for starving the Palestinians in Gaza and turning their lives into hell.