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Qatar defence minister: ‘Gaza is the largest mass grave in the world’

June 8, 2024 at 10:05 am

The bodies of Palestinians killed in the Israeli attack are brought to the morgue of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on June 8, 2024. [Ashraf Amra – Anadolu Agency]

Qatari Defence Minister Khalid Bin Mohamed Al-Attiyah on Friday described Gaza as: “The largest open prison in the world and now the largest mass grave” as a result of the devastating Israeli war on the Strip, which has entered its ninth month.

This statement was made in a lecture titled “Global and Regional Challenges in the Middle East”, hosted by the prestigious Istanbul Bogazici University and moderated by former Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar. The Qatari minister addressed the conditions and problems facing the world, particularly the countries in the region.

Al-Attiyah stressed in his speech that Qatar “sees Turkiye as a strategic partner,” praising its military defence industries and its “great contribution” to confronting the problems of poverty and instability in the Middle East.

He briefed the audience on the current developments in the region and received questions from the mediator and the audience, with academics and students in attendance.

Al-Attiyah announced in his speech: “Qatar believes Turkiye is a strategic partner, and we have a lot of cooperation, as relations between the two countries have become deeply rooted in various fields.”

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Regarding the conditions of the region, he added: “The Middle East and North Africa region has been a theatre for global powers, and the Gaza Strip has been under siege for nearly 20 years. It is described as the largest open prison in the world, and now it is the largest mass grave. We all share a similar concern about regional and global security.”

The minister spoke about what he called “the desire of world powers to create a new solution” to the Palestinian issue, noting that creating a new solution while ignoring United Nations (UN) resolutions that have not been implemented: “Will take us back to square one.”

“Palestinian situation is that there are three different approaches. The first is adopted by Israel, which does not want a two-state solution, the second is on our part, which is trying to convince the international community that a solution exists in accordance with UN resolutions that have not been implemented. But what happened is that the global powers always want to invent a new solution, and creating a new solution will take us back to square one, because every time they come up with an innovative solution, they will ask for another innovative solution.”

He reiterated that his country welcomes the recognition of the State of Palestine by Ireland, Spain, Norway and, recently, Slovenia, considering this: “An important step towards supporting the two-state solution and achieving regional peace and stability.”

Regarding Gaza, the Qatari minister expressed: “The recent escalation of mass destruction and genocide against Palestinian civilian children in the Gaza Strip has created a complete security threat to the entire region, and the expansion of settlement has led to an intensification of the conflict and undermined international efforts to ensure peace and security in the region.”

“Qatar has been at the forefront of peace efforts for regional stability through dialogue and mediation, and the international community must collectively take immediate action to help end the ongoing conflict in Gaza, and revitalise the Arab Peace Initiative, which aims to establish a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine,” he added.

The minister also noted: “The International Court of Justice played a crucial role in addressing the ongoing war in Gaza. Ensuring stability in Gaza and Palestine is crucial to maintaining peace in the region, and Qatar is committed to working with partners to facilitate constructive dialogue and conflict resolution.”

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