A delegation representing Islamic and Arab nations is currently touring the five permanent member states of the United Nations Security Council.
Why are ministers from the Arab and Islamic faith visiting UNSC member states? They have as their stated objective the cessation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, the facilitation of increased humanitarian assistance to the region’s inhabitants, and the request that the five council members aid the Palestinians in their quest for statehood.
What is the feeling of activity?
The delegation, which was assembled during a summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Arab League in Riyadh, comprises delegates from Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Nigeria, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, in addition to the OIC secretary-general. Israel’s assertion that its operation in Gaza was in self-defense is refuted.
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On October 7, approximately 1,200 persons were killed in southern Israel by Hamas attacks. Approximately 240 individuals were captured. Israel has since claimed the lives of over 14,500 Palestinians. A minimum of 6,000 individuals were minors.
The delegation commenced its tour in China on Monday in Beijing, where it conferred with Wang Yi, the highest-ranking Chinese diplomat, amidst its packed itinerary.
Analysts were taken aback, initially, by China’s actions, prompting conjecture regarding the delegation’s intended message to Western powers. Others were less enthusiastic about this and began to doubt the delegation’s real objectives.
“It is a well-known diplomatic strategy to involve as many actors as possible when one wishes to avoid taking any action,” former French ambassador to Israel Gerard Araud wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “It is time-consuming, creates the illusion of activity, and serves no purpose.”
As soon as the delegation commenced its visit, rumors of a humanitarian pause began to circulate; it was officially declared early on Wednesday morning. The delegation emphasized the significance of the agreement and advocated for a more permanent cessation of hostilities.
Hamas would be required to exchange approximately fifty women and children for three times the number of Palestinian female and child detainees currently incarcerated in Israeli jails, per the agreement.
A four-day hiatus has been officially declared, during which the captives will be discharged. Israel also announced that for each “extra” batch of ten detainees released by Hamas, hostilities would be suspended for an additional day.
The China meeting was succeeded on Tuesday in Moscow by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and in London by British Foreign Secretary David Cameron. A meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron took place on Wednesday.
Through commencing their journey in China, the Islamic and Arab states potentially aim to amass international backing in order to present to countries that have thus far extended support to Israel.
Wang stated during the meeting that the delegation’s countries’ selection of China as their initial stop signifies their appreciation for the bilateral trust and comprehension between the two nations.
Robert Mogielnicki, an authority on Chinese relations with Middle Eastern and North African nations at Georgetown University, disagrees with Araud that the endeavors of Saudi Arabia and other Arab states are merely symbolic.
Arab states possess a relatively limited amount of direct leverage. “Following the public positions of key global players and shaping the global narrative appear to be indirect means by which they exert considerable influence,” he continued.
According to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China appeared to embrace diplomacy; as Wang told the delegation, “China has always… firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights and interests.”
“China is concerned with maintaining economic stability and preserving regional order,” Arang Keshavarzian, an associate professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at New York University, explained to Al Jazeera.
“In spite of the fact that these leaders sincerely seek to increase China’s involvement in an effort to bring an end to the conflict, the United States is the only power with the requisite leverage over Israel.”
A peace agreement was mediated by China in August, facilitating the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Analysts interpreted this development as an indication that the Middle East was eroding its significant alliance with the United States.
“The United States is receiving a message from China being the first destination visited,” senior fellow at the Middle East Institute Randa Slim told Al Jazeera. The United States is receiving messages from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states that “you are no longer the sole power in the region,” she elaborated.
Analysts have also noted that Beijing has recently strengthened ties with the Global South and non-Western multilateral organizations such as BRICS, of which it is a member along with four other major emergent economies, in an effort to establish a more multipolar world order.
The US Institute of Peace reported that the Saudi-Iranian agreement was a “diplomatic victory for China as it increasingly seeks to present an alternative vision to the US-led global order.”
The Abraham Accords, or a failure?
Arab leaders have expressed discontent regarding the United States’ recent withdrawal from the region. Adhering to the approach taken by former President Donald Trump, which centered on promoting the Abraham Accords—normalization agreements between Israel and Arab countries—has been the primary focus of its policy.
Recently, Arab leaders—specifically those of Egypt and Saudi Arabia—issued a warning to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that this strategy has contributed to regional instability.Six weeks of popular mobilization in support of the Palestinians, especially in the Middle East, “upended” the “regional dynamics that underpin normalization processes,” according to Mogielnicki.
“However, it is improbable that the fundamental strategic calculations that have underpinned previous endeavors related to normalization will completely vanish,” he continued.
The public’s perception of the United States as an unwavering ally of Israel may not alter, notwithstanding the efforts of Blinken and other US officials to reestablish assistance to Palestine, which was reduced during the Trump administration.
Despite Arab states being fully cognizant of the United States’ position, the visit to China does not yet signify an outright renunciation of confidence.
Mogielnicki stated, “This is an effort to galvanize international support… and increase pressure on the Israeli government.”
Arab leaders, notwithstanding their frustration with the unwavering support of the United States for Israel, are cognizant of the fact that the ability to halt the violence resides with the United States.
Slim stated, “If you wish to accomplish the goal of obtaining a ceasefire, you must communicate with the Americans.” “Only they make the final decision.”