ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Arab ministers begin arriving in Riyadh for Gaza summit revealed by ToI

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrives in Riyadh for an Arab summit on the Gaza war on February 8, 2024. (Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry/X)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry arrives in Riyadh for an Arab summit on the Gaza war on February 8, 2024. (Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry/X)

Arab foreign ministers have begun arriving in Riyadh for a summit that Saudi Arabia is hosting in order to advance a united Arab stance regarding the war in Gaza as well as political initiatives for when the fighting ends.

The existence of the meeting was first reported yesterday by The Times of Israel.

The Arab ministers are slated to discuss efforts to expand pressure for a ceasefire in Gaza, leveraging their willingness to take part in the Strip’s rehabilitation after the war in addition to further integrating Israel into the region, on the condition that Jerusalem agrees to take steps creating an irreversible pathway to an eventual Palestinian state, according to two senior Arab diplomats.

The gathering is the latest example of the united front that Israel’s Arab partners and potential allies are building, one that is increasingly at odds with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, which expects the war to continue for many more months until “total victory” is secured. On the other hand, the grouping of Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia is offering Israel a partnership that could be used to more effectively combat Iran, which Netanyahu has long sought.

The meeting will also be attended by Hussein al-Sheikh, a top aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, as Riyadh continues to expand its cooperation with Ramallah, assuaging concerns that Saudi Arabia will abandon the Palestinian cause while working to boost its regional and global stature, the two diplomats said.

Joining Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and Sheikh will be the top diplomats from Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

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