OIC condemns Israeli attacks on Gaza and calls for humanitarian corridors

Saudi Arabia has called for an urgent meeting of the Jeddah-based group to discuss the conflict

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The Organisation of Islamic Co-operation on Thursday condemned the ongoing Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip and called for humanitarian corridors to allow medicine, food and basic needs into the besieged Palestinian enclave.

“The OIC holds Israel, the occupying power, fully responsible for the repercussions of the continuation of this sinful aggression, calling at the same time for the international community to intervene urgently to force Israel, the occupying power, to stop its ongoing attacks against the Palestinian people immediately,” the Saudi Arabian-based organisation said.

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday called for an urgent ministerial meeting of the OIC to discuss the escalation in Gaza, where more than 1,400 people have been killed in six days of Israeli bombardment.

Iran has offered to host an emergency meeting of the foreign ministers of the OIC on Palestine in a letter sent to its secretariat in Jeddah, Iranian media reported.

The OIC has not so far issued details of the planned meeting.

Saudi Arabia and Israel appeared to be moving towards a historic deal to normalise relations before the Gaza-based Hamas militant group launched a deadly attack on Saturday that led to retaliation by the Israeli military.

Zaid Belbagi, a political commentator who has advised Saudi government entities for more than a decade, said the attack was "timed in direct relation to the growing prospect of further Arab normalisation".

"It had once been considered that Saudi Arabia’s relationship with Israel would not be upgraded under the reign of King Salman," he told The National.

"Recent events in and around Gaza have a significant spectre for regional escalation given Iran’s backing of Hamas and the recent Saudi-Iranian agreement.

"In any case, the recent action has been intended to refresh minds of the Palestinian cause, which has taken a back seat in recent years as Israel races towards regional recognition."

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in a phone call on Wednesday.

It was the first direct conversation between the two leaders since a China-brokered deal between Tehran and Riyadh to resume ties in March.

Prince Mohammed has asserted the need to stop the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, and the kingdom’s firm support for the Palestinian cause and efforts aimed at achieving peace.

He has also held phone calls with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and French President Emmanuel Macron over the Israel-Gaza war.

Arab League foreign ministers who met in Cairo on Wednesday warned that the violence in Israel and Gaza could spiral out of control.

Updated: October 12, 2023, 7:52 PM