In its final statement following a meeting in Manama, the 22-member grouping called for “international protection and peacekeeping forces of the United Nations in the occupied Palestinian territories” until a two-state solution is implemented.

It also adopted calls by host Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to “convene an international conference under the auspices of the United Nations, to resolve the Palestinian issue on the basis of the two-state solution”.

The meeting of Arab heads of state and government convened in Bahrain more than seven months into the conflict in Gaza that has convulsed the wider region.


The Gaza war broke out after Hamas’s attack on southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

The militants also seized about 250 hostages, 128 of whom Israel estimates remain in Gaza, including 36 the military says are dead. Israel’s military retaliation has killed at least 35,272 people, mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza’s health ministry, and an Israeli siege has brought dire food shortages and the threat of famine.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told the summit his political rivals in Hamas gave Israel an excuse to wage war on Gaza with its October 7 attack from the Palestinian territory.

“The military operation carried out by Hamas by a unilateral decision on that day, October 7, provided Israel with more pretexts and justifications to attack the Gaza Strip,” he said.

Speaking at the summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described the war in Gaza as “an open wound that threatens to infect the entire region”, calling for “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages”.

Guterres said “the only permanent way to end the cycle of violence and instability is through a two-state solution”.

The so-called “Manama Declaration” issued by the Arab nations also urged “all Palestinian factions to join under the umbrella of the Palestine Liberation Organization”, which is dominated by Abbas’s ruling Fatah movement.

It added that it considered the PLO “the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people”.


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