What is the position of the Arab, or rather Islamic, countries on the current conflict between the State of Israel and Hamas? For decades they have supported the Palestinian cause, sometimes with military force, sometimes for their own purposes. An official communiqué condemning the Israeli invasion was supported overwhelmingly at a summit a few weeks ago, but in fact the positions of the major Arab powers, especially on how to resolve the difficult post-war situation, are far from convergent.
To discuss the issues raised by the conflict, a summit of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation met in Riyadh on November 11, 2023. It was a significant event bringing to light the convergences, and more importantly the divergences and fault lines that exist between the major Islamic countries on the war between Hamas and Israel and the future prospects for the rebuilding of the Gaza Strip.
The ground assault by the Israeli Defense Forces has already claimed the lives of more than 17,000 Palestinians, many of them children, creating humanitarian problems that are not easy to solve. Consider, for example, the wounded and displaced, including many seriously ill people removed from hospitals.