Arabs meet today at Saudi request over Gaza killings

Riyad Mansour (C), Palestine's Ambassador to the United Nations, stands with Abdallah Yahya Al-Mouallimi (L), Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the UN, and Mansour Al-Otaibi (R), Kuwait's Ambassador to the UN, following an United Nations Security Council meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York. — EPA

CAIRO — The Arab League will hold a meeting of foreign ministers on Thursday at the request of Saudi Arabia to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian crisis, Egypt’s state news agency, MENA, reported on Tuesday.

MENA quoted an Arab diplomatic source as saying the meeting was to “confront the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people and to move to confront the illegal decision taken by the United States to move its embassy to occupied Jerusalem.”

Assistant Secretary General of the Arab League Hossam Zaki said in a statement issued on Wednesday that the ministers are expected to discuss current events to unify the Arab position against Israeli crimes on the Palestinian people.

In Geneva, the United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session on Friday to discuss “the deteriorating human rights situation” in Palestine after Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians.

“The special session is being convened per an official request submitted this evening by Palestine and the United Arab Emirates,” on behalf of the rights council’s Arab Group and has so far received support from 26 states, a spokesman for the Geneva-based body said Tuesday.

Friday’s special session will begin at 0800 GMT Friday in Geneva to consider “the deteriorating human rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The support of at least a third of the 47 members of the UN Rights Body — 16 or more nations — is required to call such a session.

The initiative has already received support from Angola, Burundi, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Panama, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, South Africa, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela

Observer states Bahrain, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kuwait, Maldives, Oman, Tajikistan and Turkey have also lent their support.

It will be the 28th special session of the council. The most recent one was held last year to discuss the situation in Myanmar.

The UN Human Rights Council’s announcement came as Israel faces mounting international pressure amid calls for an independent probe into the 60 Palestinian deaths.

The killings overshadowed the opening of the new US embassy in occupied Jerusalem, relocated from Tel Aviv in fulfillment of a campaign promise by US President Donald Trump, whose daughter Ivanka attended the inaugural ceremony.

The UN Security Council in New York held an emergency meeting Tuesday on the violence in Gaza, with Kuwait preparing a draft resolution to protect Palestinian civilians and the United States defending ally Israel’s use of “restraint”. — Agencies