OPEN LETTER TO THE ORGANISATION OF ISLAMIC COUNTRIES (OIC)
Dear Leaders of the 57-member OIC
May the Peace and Blessings of God be upon you
I write with reference with the US administrations unilateral decision to move its Embassy to Jerusalem.
As Muslim brothers and sisters, and alongside all those advocates of peace, stability and justice in our world, I do not need to emphasise the absolute importance of Jerusalem on the collective psyche of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim population – nearly a quarter of all humanity on earth.
While I applaud your decision in convening an extraordinary meeting of the OIC, and support your subsequent declaration that East Jerusalem must be recognised by the world as the capital of an independent Palestinian state, more can and must be done. While it is clear that the Trump administration’s move is “null and void” and means that the US can no longer act as an “unbiased” sponsor in Middle East peace talks, I am deeply concerned that this is not just seen as hollow words.
I acknowledge your efforts in ensuring a 14-1 vote at the UN Security Council resolution on the issue – subsequently vetoed by the US.
I also applaud your efforts in then ensuring victory for the Palestinian cause at the UN General Assembly vote, but again I am concerned that this too was a non-binding resolution.
For too long now, words in support of the Palestinian cause have been in plentiful supply, but they are supported by little, if any, action. Whereas, on the other side the US has supported Israel with substantial action, at the very least, turned a blind eye to Israeli provocations and illegal land-grabs – and protected her proxy by vetoing any sanction against it.
What has the OIC done of any equivalence in defence of the Palestinians? The options open to Muslim countries – and all those seeking viable peace and justice for the Palestinians – are many. The will to do so is lacking. And it is in stark contrast to the US support for her proxy, Israel.
While the power of the pro-Israel lobby in the US is undeniable and well documented, it is too-often cited as an excuse for on-going inaction.
Perhaps it is this continued lack of tangible action for Palestine that the much-decorated journalist Robert Fisk recently lambasted the members of the OIC, stating:
“The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is no longer a force on the world stage.
These Muslim leaders are no longer valid. They represent failed states with neither morality nor courage to show for their presence at the Istanbul summit”
These are harsh words in deed. And he is not alone in his criticism. But coming from those with a strong record of documenting and challenging the injustices committed against the Palestinian people, their words must be acknowledged and considered carefully.
So, what tangible action can members of the OIC take to support Palestine?
That blueprint should come from the recent steps taken by the US itself in support of her proxy Israel.
The US threatened to cut aid from any UN General Assembly member state that voted against the US. This was after 14 of the 15 members of the Un Security Council had already voted against the US without any threats of retaliation. The threat was therefore clearly intended for the poorer members of the world, especially those heavily reliant on US Aid. Not withstanding that US Aid is actually the projection of US Foreign Policy using soft power. Foreign aid is therefore in the US’s own interests from the outset. That the US would use that leverage in support of a third country (Israel), against its own interests beggar’s belief and should be of serious US domestic concern. But this is the age of the xenophobia of Trump and Brexit . And these events must set alarm bells ringing in the capitals of the member states of the OIC that all can no longer continue as before.
So, in that vein, here is a list of some tangible actions that members of the OIC can take. Just the mere threat of them would be transformational:
1. OIC summons the US ambassadors in each of its members capitals
2. OIC demand the rescinding of the US decision supporting Israel or risk the scaling back of ties with all 57 members of the OIC
3. Saudi Arabia will consider cancelling or amending its arms deal of $500 billion. Or any number of other contracts.
4. Bahrain will stop hosting of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.
5. Pakistan will immediately halt all cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
6. Indonesia shall cut off all trade ties in protest.
7. Iran will announce a solidarity pact with KSA.
8. Turkey will demand that all US nuclear arsenal based on Turkish soil be withdrawn and announce its boycott of NATO.
9. OPEC will announce a global oil embargo.
10. Egypt will close the Suez Canal to all US bound ships.
These are just cursory elements of the almost endless variation of options for sanction against the US that are open to the collective OIC.
That these actions would be immediately considered “fanciful” by the current leaders of the OIC, despite the recent precedent set by the US itself shows how ineffectual the OIC has indeed become. We implore you on behalf of all the decent population of the earth to show some dignity, self-respect, and purpose and resolve in your actions and your role on as viceroys on this earth.