A robust conclusion emerged from the unprecedented Arab-Islamic summit held in the capital of Saudi Arabia, but no real steps were taken to counter Israel and its Western backers, particularly the US. Leaders of the Muslim world eventually convened in Riyadh for a conference on the Palestinian issue, following over a month and a half of ceaseless bombing that claimed thousands of civilian lives.
Top leaders from major Muslim nations, including Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saudi, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, attended the summit on November 11. The aspiration of millions of Muslims worldwide was that this forum would result in tangible measures, like the suspension of all diplomatic and commercial ties with the “apartheid Israeli regime” due to its intentional destruction of civilian lives and property. By all accounts, however, the summit was not a total success because there are still a number of unanswered questions around the central subject of the establishment of an Arab State of Palestine.
It should be mentioned that the president of Iran made a call for action prior to his visit to Saudi Arabia. He urged Muslim and Arab leaders to act against the Israeli administration, which has demonstrated an unbelievable lack of concern for civilian lives, in addition to stating their viewpoints. President Raisi stated the following regarding the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC): “This platform is not one for mere speech and announcement of positions, but must be a platform for action to quickly stop the bombings, lift the blockade of Gaza, and open the way to help the oppressed and authoritative people of this region, as well as to achieve the rights of the Palestinians, which was basically the main philosophy of the establishment of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.” President Raisi emphasized the necessity for action during his statement at the summit, stating that the high-level gathering presented a chance to take historic steps in support of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Iranian president ended his speech with a promising platform of 10 practical solutions.
There are numerous explanations for why Israel has not been challenged. One of them is the disagreements within the Member States about a wide range of topics, such as strategies for encouraging an end to Israeli aggression. With a long-standing strategy of “divide and conquer,” Israel’s backers have sown discord among the major Islamic nations. Regretfully, a few Muslim nations engaged in destructive rivalries and contests that harmed everyone. The good news is that in the new multipolar world, important Muslim countries are strengthening their ties with one another, marking the end of an era of rivalry and dispute. Strangely enough, the Muslim world’s unifying force has returned to be the Palestine issue. The suffering of the Palestinian people is a moral obligation for all Muslim nations, and they should be given priority.
The second reason is that certain Muslim nations’ interactions with the Israeli government are motivated by short-term, narrow-minded concerns. Generally speaking, no Arab or Islamic nation can ever depend on Israel as a strategic ally. According to Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, racism against the Islamic and Arab identities is the foundation upon which Israel was established. “Racist anti-Arab and anti-Islamic chants in Israeli demonstrations are regular. In a sense, racism is part and parcel of Zionist identity. Add to racism the never-ending Israeli oppression against the defenseless people of Palestine. With such a regime, no Islamic country can build a lasting relationship. Even if an Arab or Islamic country harbors a genuine desire to build a lasting relationship with the apartheid Israeli regime, the racist Zionist nature of this regime will prompt it to stab that country in the back when the right moment arrives. At the end of the day, Zionist zealots pursue an expansionist agenda, which has been unfolding on Islamic and Arab lands in the last seven decades,” the Iranian president stated during the Summit.
One potential explanation for the somewhat bland outcome of the Riyadh summit could be that certain leaders believe that indirect diplomacy can bring about an improvement in the Israeli government. If true, that would be wishful thinking, as “the Zionist regime of Tel Aviv has shown time and again that it only understands the language of power, not suave diplomatic gestures. This regime and its enablers have demonstrated that they lack any moral compass, having slaughtered more than 11,000 civilians. Politics in the West Asia region have always been suffused with human sufferings but only the apartheid regime of Israel was able to break a record in this regard. The Israeli regime will go down in history as one that deliberately targeted baby incubators, killed refugees fleeing war, and forced doctors to perform surgeries without anesthesia before blowing up hospitals,” Syrian President Hafez al-Assad remarked.
Additionally, the Iranian president declared, “America encouraged the Zionist regime to carry out criminal operations against the defenseless people of Gaza and called it a legitimate defense. the claim of legitimate defense by the occupying forces who are always invading the rights of Palestinians is one of the bitter ironies of history which is incompatible with any of the established legal rules and international standards.”
King Abdullah II of Jordan has suggested forming an international alliance in order to bring about a ceasefire, stop the eviction of residents from the Gaza Strip, and start meaningful negotiations. He demanded that the brutal conflict end immediately because if it didn’t, there may be another conflict in the area with potentially disastrous effects on global security and stability. “As a war crime, Israeli assault in Gaza must be denounced by the entire world. We must demand the opening of humanitarian corridors immediately in response to the appalling situation facing the defenseless people of Gaza. Denying the general public access to food, water, energy, and medical care is intolerable.”
Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, also demanded an instant cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. He referred to the situation in the Gaza Strip as a humanitarian disaster that has demonstrated the UN’s powerlessness. He also called for an end to Israel’s horrific violations of international law and the unconditional release of all hostages, pointing out that the West was acting with double standards. He demanded that Israel halt its occupation of Palestinian territory and return to the 1967 borders,
Erdoğan stated in his speech that establishing a truce and continuing to provide humanitarian aid to the Palestinians is the primary priority at this point in regards to the situation in the Gaza Strip. A permanent ceasefire must be achieved, not just a brief lull in hostilities. He underlined that some people had proposed a four-hour truce, which they deemed disgusting. “It is a pity that Western countries, which are always talking about human rights and freedoms, remain silent in the face of the ongoing killings of Palestinians.”
For his part, Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani drew attention to the fact that in the 21st century, attacks on medical facilities are being carried out. “We demand that an international delegation be dispatched by the UN to look into Israeli attacks on Gaza Strip hospitals. The international system is failing, causing hospitals and residential areas of refugee camps in Palestine to be bombed. We wonder how long Israel will stay above the law and international law.
By all accounts, the recently ended Summit in Saudi Arabia featured a number of significant moments. Sure, on the one hand, total unanimity was not attained, and no particular, strong action was made in response to Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip. On the other hand, the participation at the Summit of many leaders of Arab and Muslim governments, who began to talk and agree on a unified language, maybe for the first time in their history, increasingly spoke out against the policies of the West and, in particular, the US government. All of this is an indication of the new multipolar world order that an increasing number of nations and individuals are working to establish. Last but not least, the fact that this crucial summit was held in Riyadh further highlights Saudi Arabia’s growing influence and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud’s ambition to rule the whole Arab world.
Victor Mikhin, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.