Summit Of Muslim World In Riyadh – OpEd


The world appears to be on the verge of disquiet and even famous analysts are confused as to which direction the global unease will take shape. At the Extraordinary Summit of the Muslim World held in Riyadh on 12 November 2023, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister put forward a five-point proposal to ease the Israeli aggression in Gaza.

Describing Gaza as the most densely populated open-air prison in the world for decades, she said that the once-persecuted Jewish people are now pitilessly destroying the homes, hopes, and families of hapless Palestinians who gave them shelter during their difficult days. Expressing Bangladesh’s support for the Palestinians she expressed Palestinians right to self-determination, sovereignty, and independence based on the 1967 border and the Two-State Solution with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.

On November 12, 2023 the Organization of Islamic Conference in a strongly worded statement (OIC) strongly condemned the ongoing Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip for the sixth day in a row, killing more than 1,200 martyrs, wounding thousands of civilians, including women and children, and destructing residential buildings, civilian facilities, infrastructure, hospitals, schools, places of worship, and United Nations facilities. Add to this the inhumane water and power outages and continued daily deliberate killings in West Bank cities in conjunction with the repeated attacks on the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The OIC considered this brutal aggression against the Palestinian people a blatant international and humanitarian law violation and a war crime. The OIC held Israel, the occupying power, fully responsible for the repercussions of the continuation of this sinful aggression, calling, at the same time, for the international community to intervene urgently to force Israel, the occupying power, to stop its ongoing attacks against the Palestinian people immediately, and to ensure the opening of humanitarian corridors to facilitate the entry of medicines and food supplies and basic needs to the Gaza Strip.

Influential British magazine The Economist in a write-up titled Is a two-state solution possible after the Gaza war?, added that when Israel left Gaza in 2005, uprooting some 8,000 Jewish settlers from a territory it had controlled since 1967, no one knew quite what to make of the decision. Some hoped that Israel’s willingness to cede occupied territory would be a trend, a step towards a final settlement with the Palestinians. Others saw a canny ploy: relinquishing control of Gaza might help Israel entrench its control of the West Bank. The latter view turned out to be correct.

Similar confusion has emerged since October 7th, when Israel began planning a ground invasion of Gaza after Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls the territory, massacred 1,400 Israelis. Palestinians fear the war will lead to a second Naqba (“catastrophe”), referring to the mass displacement that accompanied Israel’s birth in 1948. Far-right Israeli ministers hope it will offer a chance to reassert control over Gaza and rebuild the dismantled Jewish settlements. 

A few hopeful sorts, among them President Joe Biden hoped it would provide a chance to revive the comatose Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Many Middle Eastern experts have opined that amid Israel’s ongoing airstrikes and ground offensive in Gaza, Arab states with peace and normalization treaties with Israel have found themselves in a delicate position. 

Following Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, initial regional calls for de-escalation quickly turned into denunciations of Israel’s bombing campaign, after leaders in Jordan, Egypt, and Israel’s Gulf state partners—namely Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates—have faced pressure from their fiercely pro-Palestinian populations to address Gaza’s plight. With criticism of Israel escalating, Jordan recalled its ambassador and a rumor spread that Bahrain had severed its ties with Israel. Crucially however, Israel’s Arab partners—as well as Saudi Arabia, with which Israel had been in talks toward normalizing relations prior to the war—have also prioritized ties with the U.S., as Washington has doubled down on its regional security commitments since Oct. 7, deploying naval ships to the Eastern Mediterranean and pledging a $14.5 billion aid package to Israel. 

Against this backdrop, Arab states have gravitated to the U.S. for security assurances amid fears of regional flare-ups and tensions with Iranian allies across the region. Indeed, Saudi Arabian Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman traveled to the White House in early November, seeking enhanced U.S. security guarantees in the event of extra tensions.

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