Arab League and African Union call on Israel to cease hostilities in Gaza
The African Union and the Arab League have urged Israel to immediately cease hostilities in Gaza, while calling on the UN and the international community “to stop a catastrophe unfolding in front of us, before it is too late.”
“We expressed our categorical rejection of the killing of civilians and underscored the necessity of opening humanitarian corridors to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip,” Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said on X (formerly Twitter) on Sunday, following a meeting with the chairman of the African Union Commission (AUC), Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Both institutions have described an evacuation order issued by the Israel Defense Forces for all 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza as a violation of international law, and have called on the UN and the broader international community to take firm action.
“The two organizations stressed the urgent need to avoid escalation, emphasizing that an Israeli ground operation would undoubtedly involve a large number of civilian casualties, including women and children, which could lead to unprecedented genocide,” the African Union and the Arab League said in a joint statement.
Israel has targeted Gaza with an intense bombing campaign, killing upwards of 2,200 Palestinians and injuring over 7,600, according to local health officials. The campaign comes in response to an attack in Israel by the Palestinian militant group Hamas on October 7, which left some 1,300 Israelis dead.
On Thursday, Israel directed the people of northern Gaza to evacuate to the south in order to “save their lives” ahead of a ground offensive. The entire territory has remained under Israeli blockade, with its border to Egypt closed since Tuesday due to Israeli airstrikes.
Egypt, an Arab League member, announced it was coordinating humanitarian aid flights for Gaza’s population affected by the military blockade, demanding that Israel refrain from striking the Palestinian side of the border crossing.
On Sunday, the Arab League and the African Union described the situation in Gaza as “dangerous,” with the health sector “on the verge of collapse.” They insisted on the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to provide basic aid to the population, which “lacks drinking water and electricity.”