Saudi FM on Gaza: ‘Our unity deters Israel’

Prince Saud al-Faisal announced a $500 OIC fund for Palestine

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Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal discussed Tuesday developments in the war-torn Gaza Strip during a ministerial meeting at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) headquarters in Jeddah.

During the meeting, al-Faisal called on Arab nations to stand together on ‘one line’ to repel Israel.

The foreign minister stressed the aim of Israel “to wipe off Palestinian existence” and criticized “the whole world” for following “Israel's savagery against the people of Gaza.”

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers the Palestinian cause its primary cause,” al-Faisal said during the meeting.

“Divisions among Islamic nations are causing civil strife, leading Israel to repeat its crimes,” he said adding that Arab countries must “support all Egyptian efforts to stop the aggression against” and “stand against the challenges” they are facing.

Al-Faisal also questioned whether Israel “would be able to undertake its aggression if the Muslim world was united.”

He pledged a $500m development fund to support rebuilding efforts in Palestine.

Meanwhile, indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Egypt to broker an end to the Gaza conflict have so far made no progress, a senior Israeli official said, according to Agence France-Presse.

"The gaps are still very wide. There has not been progress in the negotiations," the official said.

His remarks came as the Egyptian-mediated talks entered their second day.

The negotiations are aimed at brokering a long-term ceasefire agreement to end a confrontation which erupted on July 8 and which has claimed the lives of 1,940 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to discuss the Cairo talks with his security cabinet later on Tuesday afternoon but the meeting was cancelled, media reports said.

The first day of talks had lasted nearly 10 hours, a Palestinian official in Cairo said Monday.

"The negotiations were serious," he said, adding that the Israelis were insisting on the demilitarization of Hamas, the defacto power in Gaza, but that the Palestinians had refused it.

"[Tuesday's] meeting should be the most important," he said, indicating the talks were expected to tackle core issues such as the eight-year-old Israeli blockade of the territory.

Few details have emerged from the negotiations where a Palestinian delegation, comprising senior officials from the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, is pushing for a removal of the blockade.

For its part, Israel demanded a full demilitarization of Gaza, with Egyptian negotiators facing an uphill battle to reconcile the two opposing positions.

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