Arab leaders demand Palestinian State

March 31, 2019
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  • Disagree with US on Golan Heights status

Arab leaders are meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, at a time wars going on in Syria and Yemen, including the leadership rivalry in Libya, transition crisis in Algeria and continuous boycotting of Qatar.

At the Sunday meeting, the Arab leaders issued a renewed call for the establishment of a Palestinian State, condemning the move by the United States to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.

As indicated above, the 30th Arab League summit holding in Tunis, kicked off on Sunday against the ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen, political instability in Libya, and mass anti-government protests in Algeria and Sudan, including a continuing boycott of Qatar by four members of the same bloc.

In a speech opening the summit, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia reiterated his kingdom’s support for a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with occupied East Jerusalem as its capital.

Tunisian President, Beli Caid Essebsi, recalled the king’s speech, reiterating the significance of the Palestinian cause to the Arab world, while he called for unity.

“It is unreasonable for the Arab region to continue to be at the forefront of tensions and crises,” Essebsi, the host of the summit, said. 

Arab leaders – including Salman, Essebsi and Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, also condemned US President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, which Israel seized in the 1967 war.

“We reiterate our categorical rejection of measures that would undermine Syrian sovereignty over the Golan,” King Salman said.

However, expectations for any concrete action were low, partly due to the close ties regional powerhouses such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have developed with the Trump administration, viewing it as a key ally against their main rival, Iran..

“There is very little intention to come up with very clear outcomes other than the usual discourse of establishing Palestine right and the general Arab stance on regional issues,” Majed al-Ansari, professor of political sociology at Qatar University, had said.

“I don’t believe I’ve heard anything that would constitute a new trend in what would come out of the summit,” Ansari added.

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