Arab leaders have expressed deep concerns over Israel’s planned ground assault on the Gaza Strip, warning that it could have catastrophic consequences for the Middle East. Saudi Arabia, in particular, has raised its concerns with US officials, emphasizing the need to avoid further instability and loss of life in the region. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, during a meeting with US lawmakers in Riyadh, stressed that a ground invasion of Gaza would be extremely harmful and called for its avoidance. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who was present at the meeting, affirmed the crown prince’s desire to prevent a prolonged and intensified conflict in the Middle East.
This alert from Saudi Arabia comes amid escalating tensions between Israel and Hamas. The White House has expressed unwavering support for Israel since a deadly Hamas attack earlier this month, and has deployed military forces across the Middle East to discourage external actors from participating in the conflict. The United States has specifically pointed to Iran and affiliated militia groups in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon as potential threats.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reiterated his concerns directly to US President Joe Biden during a phone call. He emphasized the necessity of preventing the conflict from expanding and called for a fair and comprehensive peace that safeguards the legitimate rights of Palestinians. Bin Salman also urged Israel to lift its siege on Gaza, further highlighting the need to address the dire humanitarian situation in the region.
Other Arab leaders have echoed these concerns. At the Cairo Summit for Peace in Egypt, Jordan’s King Abdullah emphasized the urgency of working towards a ceasefire and warned of the potential human disaster that could push the entire region into chaos.
While the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have postponed a full-scale ground invasion of Gaza thus far, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has outlined a three-stage plan to eliminate Hamas and establish a new security regime in the Palestinian territory. The plan includes airstrikes and subsequent ground maneuvers. The IDF has already mobilized a significant number of reservists in preparation for the assault and has been conducting daily air raids on Gaza for nearly three weeks. The ongoing violence has resulted in a devastating loss of life, with over 1,400 Israelis and 7,000 Palestinians reported killed by local officials.
The international community continues to monitor the situation closely and has called for an immediate ceasefire to prevent further escalation. The Arab leaders’ appeal for a cessation of hostilities reflects their recognition of the potential catastrophic consequences of an Israeli ground assault on Gaza. As diplomatic efforts continue, there is hope that a peaceful resolution can be achieved to address the underlying grievances and bring stability to the region.