The Riyadh Arab-Islamic Summit conveyed numerous exceptional diplomatic signals and collective messages to the administration of US President Joe Biden. These messages called for an end to its support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. They urged immediate cessation of the destructive war on the Gaza Strip, along with the abandonment of Mr Biden’s plans for “The day after.”

Arab countries had opposed America’s insistence on granting diplomatic immunity to Israel in the UN Security Council, which blocked the issuance of a draft UN resolution seeking a ceasefire in Gaza. They defied Washington, turning to the UN General Assembly, which successfully passed a resolution with the support of 120 countries, advocating for an “immediate, permanent, and sustainable humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.” Although this decision lacks the binding power of a Security Council resolution, it holds significant symbolic political weight, highlighting the divide between the United States and the rest of the world, as well as the growing global support for the Palestinian cause.

The Riyadh Summit took additional crucial steps during this extensive regional-international gathering, second only to the United Nations General Assembly in scale. Leaders and representatives from 57 Arab and Islamic countries participated in the summit, including member states of the G20 and major countries from various political and economic backgrounds. These nations set aside their differences and moved toward closer cooperation to establish a unified stance on the Gaza war.

Even leaders who do not typically convene together, such as Iran’s Ebrahim Raisi, Türkiye’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, participated in the summit. This represents a significant shift in the dynamics of reconciliation in the Middle East, supported by China, and reflects the region’s countries’ efforts to find common ground independently of American influence. Additionally, it underscores their shared interest in the Palestinian issue and the suffering of its people.

In essence, this message serves as an apparent response to Netanyahu’s plans, Washington’s stance, and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s dissenting positions.

The Israeli Prime Minister, for his part, announced his vision for his goals in the war and beyond: “eliminating Hamas,” Israeli “security control” of the Gaza Strip after the war, and rejection of a future administrative role there for the Western-backed Palestinian Authority in Gaza.


He emphasized the need for “full security control… There will be no authority that would teach hatred to children.” Additionally, he stated that Gaza would be demilitarized, with no threat to Israel emanating from Gaza after the war.

However, there are indications from some sources that suggest a potential goal of annexing the Gaza Strip to Israel, relocating most of its population to Sinai, and establishing a local administration that would collaborate with Tel Aviv in terms of security.

On its part, Washington has refrained from calling for a ceasefire for over a month. In fact, it has deployed two aircraft carriers and a nuclear submarine to the Mediterranean while providing military and intelligence support to Israel during its war.

Secretary of State Blinken initially expressed enthusiasm for Prime Minister Netanyahu’s proposal to relocate Palestinians from Gaza to Sinai. He actively promoted this idea during his first Middle Eastern tour following the October 7 attacks in Cairo and Amman. However, he later adjusted his stance after his second tour in the region, as he announced after a meeting with the G7 foreign ministers in Japan. He emphasized the “six no’s”:

1- “No forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza – not now, not after the war.”

2. “No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends.”

3. “No use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks.”

4. “No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza.”

5. “No reduction in the territory of Gaza.”

6. “No terrorist threats can emanate from the West Bank.”

These “noes” highlight a continued alignment with Netanyahu’s policies but potentially indicate a growing divergence between Washington and Tel Aviv on post-war plans. This divergence emerges at a time when European leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have started to voice their opposition to the targeting of civilians.

It is clear that the Riyadh summit’s message aims to widen that gap and tries to push the Biden administration to exert pressure on Netanyahu, as the joint Arab-Islamic position presented a comprehensive diplomatic agenda, which included three points: support for the Palestinian Authority and its President, Mahmoud Abbas; the pursuit of unity between the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and occupied East Jerusalem; and the establishment of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.


In the face of scenes of killing and massacres, the summit called for an immediate halt to military operations, “breaking” the siege, condemning “war crimes and barbaric, brutal and inhumane massacres,” and calling on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to “complete the investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.”

The final communique did not endorse specific calls for severing diplomatic relations with Israel or supporting Hamas or the concept of “a Palestinian state from the river to the sea.” Instead, it reflected a broad consensus among Arab and Islamic nations to prioritize “peace as a strategic option.”

It emphasized the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative as a prerequisite for achieving peace with Israel and establishing normal diplomatic relations. Additionally, the statement supported the idea of an international peace conference to initiate a path toward this goal. It emphasized that any consideration regarding the future of Gaza should be within the framework of a “comprehensive solution” that encompasses the West Bank, Jerusalem, and, naturally, the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Ministers from major Arab and Islamic countries are embarking on tours of key decision-making capitals. Their mission is to convey a comprehensive message, particularly in light of the demonstrations protesting the tragic events in Gaza. They aim to influence the direction of US policy and lower the aggressive thresholds that Prime Minister Netanyahu has set for the conflict.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo will also deliver this message to President Biden during their meeting at the White House. At the same time, it will also be echoed in the United Nations Security Council corridors as discussions on a new international resolution take place.

Al Majalla Magzine