The leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Southeast Asian nations on Friday called for a “durable” ceasefire in Gaza as Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian enclave nears its second week.
The call was made by the leaders of the GCC and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as they held their first joint summit since the two blocs established relations in 1990.
In a joint statement condemning “all attacks” on civilians, the two blocs urged “all concerned parties” to ensure the most effective and efficient access for humanitarian aid, and relief supplies, basic necessities and essential services, as well as the restoration of electricity and water.
They called for the unhindered delivery of fuel, food, and medicine throughout Gaza – urging that Israel’s “total siege” since the start of the conflict be lifted immediately.
As the conflict has raged since Oct. 7, the leaders also called for immediate and unconditional release of civilian hostages and detainees, especially women, children, the sick, and the elderly.
The two sides also urged all parties “to work towards a peaceful resolution to the conflict with a view to realizing the two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders in accordance with international law and the relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”
Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Qudra said Friday that the death toll in Gaza due to Israel's ongoing bombardment has climbed to 4,137, including 1,524 children and 1,000 women.
The number of injured has risen to 13,300, he told a news conference, adding that over 1,000 others are missing.
The conflict in Gaza, under Israeli bombardment and blockade since Oct. 7, began when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included a barrage of rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. It said the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.
The Israeli military then launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, along with stepping up raids and arrests in the occupied West Bank.
Officials have said more than 1,400 people in Israel have been killed in the conflict.