The BRICS leaders held a meeting virtually on November 21, 2023 and demanded for an end to Israel’s war on Gaza. BRICS is an intergovernmental organization comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. However, this summit was not limited to the BRICS countries alone. The organization had earlier this year made a decision to expand its membership and decided to include Egypt, Ethiopia, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Iran among its new members starting in 2024. Thus, the heads of these six nations attended the summit in addition to the BRICS nations. Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, also attended the meeting.Cyril Ramaphosa, the President of South Africa and the current chair of BRICS, chaired the meeting. President Ramaphosa of South Africa opened the meeting by declaring that Israel’s actions are clearly against international law and that Israel’s collective punishment of Palestinian civilians is a war crime that amounts to genocide. The majority of the leaders in meeting called for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire and referred to Israel’s targeting of civilians in Gaza as war crimes. The government media office reports that since Israel’s attack on Gaza began on October 7, the number of Palestinian deaths has increased to 14,532, including almost 6,000 children.
Many member states, including as Brazil and Russia, have expressed disapproval of Israel’s constant bombardment and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. For its part, China welcomed a delegation of Muslim nations, leaders, and organizations among them the Palestinian Authority (PA) in an effort to broker a ceasefire. The delegation of Arab-Islamic nations demanded for a long-term resolution to the conflict and for an end to the Israeli war in Gaza. Rejecting Israeli claims of self-defense, the delegation demanded the immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza, the lifting of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian territory, the immediate release of all Palestinian detainees, and the start of diplomatic negotiations toward the creation of an independent Palestinian state. In addition, China is maintaining communication on the Palestinian-Israeli problem with other permanent members of the UN Security Council and Arab-Islamic nations. During the visit of Arab-Islamic countries delegation to China, top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi also said that China demanded an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, stated opposition to any forced relocation or displacement of Palestinian residents, and underlined that any agreement pertaining to the future and destiny of the Palestinian people must have their approval.
Research Associate, Pakistan House