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Saudis help block anti-Israel measures at Arab summit

Riyadh joins other moderate Arab states in rejecting a call to isolate the Jewish state over its war against Hamas.

Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on March 7, 2022. Credit: Murathakan Art/Shutterstock.
Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh on March 7, 2022. Credit: Murathakan Art/Shutterstock.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday helped to block a bid by Arab and Muslim countries to militarily and economically isolate Israel, according to Israeli media reports.

Most of the states present at an Arab League and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) emergency summit in Riyadh focusing on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza sought to impose five measures against the Jewish state, Channel 12 reported.

The demands were to prevent the transfer of U.S. military equipment to Israel from American bases in the Middle East region; suspend all diplomatic and economic contacts with Israel; cut back oil sales to the United States over Washington’s support for Israel; stop Israeli air traffic over the skies of the Gulf and send a joint delegation to the United States, Europe and Russia to push for a ceasefire.

The resolution to adopt these measures was blocked by Israel’s Abraham accords partner states the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. They were joined by Egypt and Jordan, two countries with long-standing peace agreements with Israel. Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Djibouti also opposed the measures.

Israeli-Saudi ties were thawing before Oct. 7, when Hamas attacked Gaza-area communities, killing 1,200 Israelis and taking more than 200 people to Gaza as hostages. The war has apparently slowed, but not derailed, efforts to normalize relations between Jerusalem and Riyadh.

Israel and the northwest African country of Mauritania had diplomatic relations from 1999-2009 but they were frozen during the Gaza war of 2009. Djibouti, located on the African Horn, never had diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

An Iranian demand that the Israel Defense Forces be designated as a terror organization was also rejected.

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