The real issue facing the Arab and Islamic world was not securing a truce to halt bloodshed in Gaza, but ending the Israeli occupation, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi said Tuesday.
“The real problem is not a truce. The real problem that the Arab and Islamic countries and all friendly countries in the world must focus on is ending the occupation,” he told reporters on a brief solidarity visit to Gaza at the head of a delegation of ministers.
A top delegation of Arab ministers led by Arabi began a solidarity mission in Gaza on Tuesday as an Israeli air offensive entered its seventh day.
“The Arab foreign ministers delegation arrived through the Rafah border crossing” with Egypt, the Hamas information office said, adding Turkey’s foreign minister was also in the delegation.
A Hamas official said the group included representatives from more than 10 countries including Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia and Turkey.
The foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority government that rules the West Bank, Riad al-Malki, was also accompanying the group, the official said.
The delegation was due to travel north to Gaza City for a meeting with the Hamas government, visit the Shifa hospital and talk to survivors from the Dallu family, which lost at least eight members in an air strike on Sunday.
The Arab League’s deputy secretary general told AFP earlier that the trip aimed “to express Arab solidarity and support for the steadfastness of the people and Gaza.”
More than 100 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since Israel killed a senior Hamas leader in an air strike on Wednesday. Militants have fired hundreds of rockets into the Jewish state.
As the ministers arrived in Gaza, Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi raised hopes that the violence could be coming to an end later on Tuesday.
“The farce of the Israeli aggression will end today, Tuesday, and the efforts to reach a ceasefire between the Palestinians and Israelis will produce positive results within a few hours,” the official Egyptian MENA news agency quoted Mursi as saying.