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Arab League calls for conference for peace in the Middle East

Arab League summit in Bahrain   -  
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Arab League

Israel’s continuing military offensive in the Gaza Strip dominated the agenda at the Arab League summit in Bahrain’s capital, Manama.

Leaders of the 22-member group called for an international conference for peace in the Middle East and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

"The destruction that Gaza is witnessing today will leave grave consequences in its wake for the generations that have witnessed death and injustice, and Gaza will need years to recover,” said King Abdullah II of Jordan.

“What Gaza went through will not bring stability to the region or the world, but more violence and conflict. This war must stop, and the world must shoulder its moral and humanitarian responsibility to end a conflict that has been ongoing for over seven decades," he said.

The war in Gaza broke out after Hamas' attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of about 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

An estimated 35,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel's military retaliation, and its siege of the enclave has created a dire humanitarian situation.

In his address to the summit, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres repeated his longstanding call for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, the release of all hostages held in the enclave, and unimpeded access for aid delivery.

Egypt's president, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, whose country has mediated in the conflict, told the summit that Israel continues to evade efforts to reach a ceasefire in its war with Hamas.

"Those who think that security and military solutions are able to secure interests or achieve security [are] delusional," he added.

The summit’s final statement also called for “international protection and peacekeeping forces of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian territories" until a two-state solution is implemented.