By: Zulfiqar Ali Bhatti
In a disheartening display of disunity and indecisiveness, Arab League countries found themselves at a crossroads when attempting to form a joint response to Israel’s aggressive actions in Gaza, as reported by The New Arab’s Arabic language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed. The inability to reach a consensus on what has been described as “important clauses” resulted in the merging of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Arab League summits, highlighting a stark failure in addressing the urgent situation.
The Saudi foreign ministry, on Friday, announced the decision to combine the emergency meetings, revealing a lack of cohesion among Arab states in formulating a unified response to Israel’s onslaught on Gaza. The joint summit, held in Riyadh on Saturday, was declared in response to the dire circumstances in Gaza, where over 11,000 people, predominantly civilians, including more than 4,000 children and over 3,000 women, had lost their lives due to Israel’s aerial and ground offensive.
However, what should have been a united front against such atrocities turned into a disappointing spectacle as the Al-Araby Al-Jadeed report disclosed that four influential countries within the Arab League obstructed the adoption of concrete measures against Israel. Instead of standing firm in the face of aggression, these countries proposed and supported vague, non-committal clauses, revealing a disconcerting level of cowardice.
Among the divisive clauses were proposals to prohibit the use of U.S. and other military bases in Arab countries to supply Israel with weapons and ammunition, freezing Arab diplomatic, economic, security, and military relations with Israel, and leveraging oil and Arab economic capabilities to apply pressure and halt the ongoing aggression. Libya even suggested that the final statement should include a joint declaration in support of the right of the Palestinian people to resist Israeli occupation.
Eleven Arab countries, including Palestine, Syria, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Libya, and Yemen, endorsed these measures. However, the identities of the four countries that voted against or abstained from supporting these crucial steps remain undisclosed, leaving a stain on the collective integrity of the Arab League and OIC. This failure to stand resolutely against injustice raises serious questions about the effectiveness and commitment of these influential Arab powers to address the pressing issues in the region.
In light of recent events in [region], concerns have been raised about the collective response of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). While acknowledging the inherent complexities of the situation, observers find the OIC’s approach somewhat lacking in the face of pressing challenges. The strength of any international organization lies in its ability to provide a unified and decisive response to critical issues, and recent developments have led some to question the effectiveness of the OIC’s strategies. In times of crisis, the importance of a united front cannot be overstated, and the hope is that the OIC will engage in constructive dialogue and collaborative efforts to address these challenges with a clear and resolute stance. The expectation is that future deliberations within the OIC will result in a strengthened and more robust response, prioritizing the well-being and interests of member nations. It remains to be seen how the organization will navigate these pressing issues and whether it will rise to the occasion to demonstrate its commitment to collective action.