Resolution by Arab Nations Against Israel Demonstrates Depth of Global Divide on Gaza

ON 11/14/2023 AT 02 : 46 AM

A joint meeting held last weekend by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League accomplished little but concluded with demands for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel against the Palestinian people.
November 11-12, 2023 Extraordinary Joint Summit of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC),
Senior attendees at the November 11-12, 2023 Extraordinary Joint Summit of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), held in Saudi Arabia's capital city of Riyadh. Official Twitter Account of the Presidency of the Republic of Türkiye

The resolution stops short of any actions or threats which would cause Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give pause to his country’s continuing destruction of Gaza and the killing of now over 11,000 Palestinians, including over 4,000 children. What it did accomplish, however, was to prove unequivocally how badly the war has inflamed anger between the Islamic world and the nations of the west which continue to back Israel’s fight.

The war has created a global fracture which will leave the world less able to work together and less safe for years to come.

Even the genesis of the meeting, held this weekend in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, illustrated how divided even the Arab world is regarding what to do about the war. It happened after the Arab League, an organization consisting of 22 member states[1], met separately to create their own declaration condemning Israel’s war in Gaza and could not agree on a final document.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an even larger group, with 57 members, 48 of which are countries with majority-Muslim populations. With many overlaps between its membership and those of the Arab League, the groups decided to merge their meetings to create a joint declaration with even bigger potential impact.

Notably in attendance were Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (PMS), the effective head of state for that country; Iranian President Ebrahim Rassi, who was the first Iranian president to appear on Saudi soil since 2012, and whose nation has been providing some support — though how much is unknown — for Hamas and Hezbollah before and throughout the current war, and which has backed the Houthi rebels who declared war on Israel after the October 7 conflict began; Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose country has been bombed by Israeli and United States forces since the war began, on the grounds that they believe Iran had military bases embedded within Syria; and Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who has been strongly condemning Israel’s actions against Palestine from the beginning, and who has also been accused of providing covert support for Hamas within Gaza.

On November 13, after intense dialog and arguments, the combined groups succeeded in releasing what was the toughest public stand against the war of any international gathering of nations to date.

It began with a governing statement which said the Palestinian cause was backed by all nations present, and that they jointly pledged their “support with all their capabilities for the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate all their occupied territories and the need to end the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and to separate Gaza from the West Bank”.

As further backing for this, the nations reiterated their opinion that “Israel and all the states in the region will never enjoy security and peace unless Palestinians enjoy them and reclaim all their usurped rights.”

The statement took this a strong step further, by harshly condemning “Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip and the war crimes and barbaric, brutal and inhumane massacres committed by the colonial occupation government during this aggression, as well as against the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank, including East Al-Quds (Jerusalem).”

The nations further attacked Israel and those who described “this war of retaliation as self-defense or justifying it under any pretext” as misrepresenting the truth of what was happening. They went on to say that the continued Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people was instead “a retaliatory war crime that cannot be justified under any guise”.

That last statement was followed with a demand for the aggression to be halted immediately. It would not be a “humanitarian pause” as western countries have recently begun to demand, but instead would call for a once and final end to the entire war.

“We call on all countries to immediately stop the export of weapons with which the occupying army of Israel and settler terrorists kill Palestinians and destroy their homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches and all their property,” the statement went on. It also demanded Israel halt all expansion of Israeli settlements on the West Bank, as well as all hostile confrontations against the Palestinians who currently live there.

The resolution went on to ask the United Nations Security Council “to adopt a resolution to condemn the destruction, displacement, and prevention of basic services and needs, to ensure immediate cessation of Israeli military escalation, lift the Israeli illegal siege, ensure delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip and compel the colonial occupation to abide by international law.”

Another part of the resolution formally rejects the forced deportation, displacement, or expulsion of Palestinians from Gaza, outside their homeland.

Further clauses called for Israeli forces to end the current wave of military sieges and killings of Palestinians on the West Bank.

The document also denounced what the nations saw as brazen killing of journalists.

Hate speech such as Israeli officials referring to the Palestinians in Gaza as “animals” and declaring that Israel was considering returning “Lebanon to the ‘Stone Age’” in response to its allegedly having served as a base of operations for Hamas to trigger the current phase of the war with Israel, on October 7.

The statement went on to outline specific steps needed to allow for “the entry of Arab, Islamic, and international humanitarian aid convoys, and supporting Egypt’s efforts to deliver aid to the Strip in an immediate, sustainable, and sufficient manner”.

To support the immediate need for aid along with long-term support for the Palestinians, the statement called for “the activation of the Arab and Islamic Financial Safety Net to provide assistance and financial, economic, and humanitarian support to the Government of the State of Palestine and to UNRWA [The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East], and emphasized the need to mobilize international partners to reconstruct Gaza and mitigate the effects of the massive destruction caused by the Israeli aggression as soon as it stops.”

The resolution continued other clauses affirming the Arab League and OIC’s “support for the legal and political initiatives of the State of Palestine at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the International Criminal Court (ICC), and the Human Rights Council (HRC)”. A further clause requested the ICC prosecutor “to continue its investigation into the war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people”.

To that end, the joint statement also directed the General Secretariats of the League of Arab States and the OIC “to establish two specialized legal monitoring units to document all the crimes of the occupation authorities in the Gaza Strip since 7 October 2023 and to prepare evidence on the Israeli” war crimes committed.

A separate clause also “condemned the military aggression against the Gaza Strip and the war crimes and barbaric, brutal, and inhuman massacres committed by the colonial occupation government and the military operations against Palestinian cities and camps, the settlers’ terrorism, and Israeli attacks on Islamic and Christian holy places in Al-Quds and the illegal Israeli measures that violate freedom of worship.”

In other public statements made at the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the audience his country “holds the occupation (Israeli) authorities responsible for the crimes committed against the Palestinian people".

When he spoke, President Erdogan of Turkey condemned so many who are remaining silent about so many things happening in the war.

“It is a a shame that Western countries, which always talk about human rights and freedoms, remain silent in the face of the ongoing massacres in Palestine,” he said.

Iranian President Raisi called for the Islamic community to designate Israel as a “terrorist organization” for its conduct in Gaza.

That did not make it into the final resolution passed by the group. Neither did proposals offered up during the convention by Lebanon, Algeria, and several others, who recommended the nations agree to shut down the flow of oil to Israel and the allies supporting it.

Another proposal that did not make it into the joint statement was the formal cutting of economic as well as diplomatic ties with Israel because of what happened.

Hamas, which sent its own statement to the collective forum from within Gaza, asked for the ambassadors and officials present at the joint summit to add two points to any final statement. One was to form a legal commission which would, like the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II, try “Israeli war criminals” sometime. It also proposed the nations create a joint fund which could be used to reconstruct Gaza when the war was finally over.

Neither of those proposals made it into the final statement either.

For Saudi Arabia, which had been on the brink of reestablishing full diplomatic relations with Israel prior to the outbreak of the war which began on October 7, while the Crown Prince did not comment on that, what he said about what Israel was doing to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank suggested those conversations were over for now.

Several of the representatives of the Arab League and OIC nations attending expressed frustrations over the statements not going far enough to take actions against Israel for what they had done.

Among those was Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who spoke to the assembly strongly for the first time since having been recently brought back into the Arab fold, after a ten-year civil war in his country. That war, with forces from the United States, Russia, ISIS, and Turkey involved in fighting for their own causes, nearly toppled al-Assad’s government.

“If we do not have real tools for pressure, then any step we take or speech we give will have no meaning," he said.

Despite the lack of punitive measures this group could take against Israel as a whole or in part, a primary takeaway from this weekend’s joint meeting of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was that the countries are united in their support for Palestine, kind of. A second was an equally powerful rejection of what Israel is doing in what appears to be nothing less than what some attendees called the mass genocide of the Palestinian people.

A third was a further condemnation of the explicit and implicit support countries such as the United States and within Europe are providing Israel, whether in the form of direct military aid, vetoing UN Security Council resolutions against Israel’s actions, or by repeating and amplifying the message that Israel is fully justified in what it is doing on the grounds that it is acting in justifiable self-defense.

A final takeaway from what came down after the weekend meeting was that Israel’s actions since October 7 against the Palestinians in Gaza and on the West Bank have created a rift with western powers which are deep, filled with anger and frustration, and is deepening daily. In the short term, assuming Israel continues its obliteration of the Gaza which used to be, and the killing of what appear to be heading towards upwards of 20,000 Palestinian citizens who are not to blame for any of the conflict, that rift will only grow.

The lack of action on the part of Arab and Islamic nations was expected by those who have observed their behavior for the past few decades. There were simple and easy actions they could have taken that would not have resulted in further bloodshed. The least they could have done was to stop aiding Israel with oil, gas and trade. 

While there is long-term strategic value in continuing to sacrifice their fellow Muslims to Jewish hatred and Israeli fascism and avoiding a regional or perhaps global war that would kill far, far more people, that is not likely the thinking of those attending the summit. Most of them are corrupt sociopaths and psychopaths who value their own wealth and power far more than the lives of Palestinians. Most are are also guilty of their own atrocities.  

Allowing Israel and its supporters to continue to demonstrate their true nature to the rest of the world dismantles whatever delusions had been sold by them and will further isolate them. More nations will want to join BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SOC). More nations will accelerate their de-dollarization. The EU will become further isolated and China will continue its rise. Western disinformation media (dismedia) will continue to discredit itself and lose the little credibility it once had. 

While the Islamic and Arab rulers may not be willing to do much to end the slaughter of innocents, individuals can do their part by boycotting all things Jewish and Israeli forever, exposing Jewish hate and by supporting the many peace demonstrations around the globe. Simple things like not buying products with a kosher symbol on them helps. 

Voters can stop supporting politicians who are subservient to Israel. In the U.S., the Green Party's Jill Stein is the only presidential candidate not subservient to Israel. Unfortunately, Canada has no significant parties that aren't loyal to fascist Israel. Those who attend a church can insist that it take a public stand against genocide.

[1] The Arab League is made up of Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.