The GCC calls on the US to assume its responsibilities in responding to all measures and statements that target the Palestinian people.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced on Sunday that it had written to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemning controversial comments made by Israeli occupation Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, in which he denied the existence of the Palestinian people.
In a letter to Blinken, the GCC called on Washington “to assume its responsibilities in responding to all measures and statements that target the Palestinian people.”
The letter from the six-member GCC’s foreign ministers also called on the United States “to play its role in reaching a just, comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict based on the principles of international law.”
Speaking earlier this month, Smotrich alleged that the Palestinians did not exist as a people, claims that sparked outrage among Arab nations.
The US State Department said it had found Smotrich’s comments “to not only be inaccurate but also deeply concerning and dangerous.”
The GCC ministers also denounced earlier remarks by Smotrich, calling for the Palestinian town of Huwara in the occupied West Bank to be “wiped out”.
GCC Secretary-General Jasem Albudaiwi pointed out that the letter reiterated that the Palestinian cause remains the “foremost issue for Arabs and Muslims” and urged Blinken to guarantee the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.
The foreign ministers of the GCC, which comprises Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman, also condemned the occupation’s violations of the sanctity of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.
On Tuesday, the US State Department criticized a move by the Israeli Knesset to rescind legislation ordering the evacuation of four settlements in the occupied West Bank 18 years after it was passed, calling it “provocative” and in direct contradiction of promises made to Washington at the time.
Blinken, appearing before a Senate committee, also reiterated previous US pushback on Smotrich’s comments about Palestinians, claiming they do not reflect US values
This week, the Netanyahu government issued bids to build 1,029 illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank and Al-Quds, despite a couple of days ago reaffirming, during a security meeting in Egypt’s Sharm El-Sheikh, its “commitment to stop discussion of any new settlement units for 4 months and to stop authorization of any outposts for 6 months.”
It is noteworthy that the same “pledge” was made by the Israeli occupation in the Aqaba meeting that was held by Jordan a couple of weeks ago. However, Israeli occupation Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later confirmed that “the construction of settlement outposts in the West Bank will continue without any change.”
And on February 15, the Israeli occupation cabinet approved the construction of more than 7,000 illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, with the Palestinian Information Center revealing the exact number of the planned units at 7,032.
Under international law, all Israeli settlements are illegal, and the United Nations Security Council has condemned Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in late February that Israeli-built settlements are “illegal” and “must stop”.