The world has failed Gaza, host Saudi Arabia tells WEF summit

The world has failed Gaza, host Saudi Arabia tells WEF summit
Saudi Arabia's top diplomat told attendees at the World Economic Forum summit which it is hosting that the world had failed war-battered Gaza.
2 min read
Farhan (L) reiterated Saudi Arabia's call for a Palestinian state at the global summit [Getty]

Saudi Arabia on Sunday said the international community has failed Gaza and reiterated its call for a Palestinian state at a global economic summit attended by a host of mediators.

"The situation in Gaza obviously is a catastrophe by every measure - humanitarian, but also a complete failing of the existing political system to deal with that crisis," Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said during the first day of a Saudi-hosted World Economic Forum special meeting.

Only "a credible, irreversible path to a Palestinian state" will prevent the world from confronting "this same situation two, three, four years down the line," he said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Palestinian leaders and high-ranking officials from other countries trying to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas are attending the summit in Riyadh, capital of the world's biggest crude oil exporter.

Speaking in Riyadh, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the United States "is the only country capable" of preventing Israel's long-feared invasion of Rafah city in southern Gaza.

"We appeal to the United States of America to ask Israel to stop the Rafah operation," he said, warning it would harm and displace civilians, and be "the biggest disaster in the history of the Palestinian people".

The war in Gaza, which has sent regional tensions soaring, has killed over 34,000 people, mostly women and children, the territory's health ministry says.

It was sparked by the Hamas-led attack on October 7 in southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of 1,170 people. Around 250 others were taken hostage. Hamas says the attack was in retaliation to Israel's decades-long occupation of and aggression against the Palestinian people.