Israel is looking to eradicate the Palestinian people, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said at a meeting of Muslim ministers discussing the Gaza conflict Tuesday, calling the country’s actions “unprecedented brutality.”
Prince Saud al-Faisal also said Israel would not survive as a nation without reaching a peace deal with the Palestinians.
“Its goal is to eradicate the Palestinian presence even in its living and cultural expressions; seize territory; threaten Palestine as a whole; violate its mosques, churches and holy sites; and impose its hegemony on the region as a controlling, tyrant regional power,” Faisal said in a sharply worded statement at the start of a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Jeddah.
Though the kingdom has been reported to be quietly working with Jerusalem to help sideline Hamas and its patrons’ influence in the region, Faisal said Israel, and not Hamas, was the terrorist group.
“Israel wants to destroy and kill an entire population so that it can steal more land,” he said. “Israel does not have the right to self-defense as an occupier.”
He added that “Israel should realize that peace is the only option to survive.”
In a statement after the ministerial meeting, the second on Gaza in three days, the OIC said that “in the liveliest terms” the meeting condemned Israel, “the occupying force, for war crimes it doesn’t stop committing in the Palestinian territories.”
“Israel should immediately cease its aggression against the Palestinian people and shoulder political and legal responsibility for war crimes,” the statement said.
The OIC also proposed a meeting of donors on the reconstruction of Gaza, where the war has caused $4 billion to $6 billion of damage, according to the Palestinian economy ministry.
A Palestinian official said on Tuesday that Egypt has offered to host a conference of Gaza donors.
“The Egyptians proposed a few days ago to stage a donors conference” at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, said the official, who asked not to be named.
The OIC praised Saudi Arabia for supplying medical aid worth 300 million riyals (about $80 million), as well as a commitment to provide $500 million towards reconstruction in Gaza.