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Nov 11, the day that Muslim leaders betrayed the Palestinians again

Israel has not lost any sleep listening to speeches by Muslim leaders from Indonesia to Morocco.

Abdar Rahman Koya
3 minute read

Nov 11 saw millions of people in Western cities marching to press their governments to stop their involvement in Israel's slaughter of Palestinians.

On the same day, a joint meeting of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) took place in Saudi Arabia, with hopes that at least some practical steps could be agreed on to end the genocidal campaign in Gaza, which has killed more than 11,000 civilians, including over 4,000 children.

With the exception of Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi, none of the more than 50 heads of state addressed the elephant in the room: the oil-rich Arab and Muslim states in the region who were best placed to pressure Israel and its Western backers through diplomatic and economic means.

It is a tragedy of our time that not one of the handful of Muslim governments with diplomatic relations with Israel could so much as cut these ties, despite their rhetoric at home in the form of large state-sponsored rallies in support of Palestinians.

Even President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the man out to rebrand Turkey as a Muslim superpower on the ruins of its past Ottoman glory, stopped short of severing ties with Israel.

This is unlike Bolivia, a country in South America, which announced it was cutting ties with Israel, joining several other non-Muslim governments which have condemned Israel's barbaric acts over the years.

The truth is, Israel has not lost any sleep listening to speeches at the OIC meeting by leaders from Indonesia to Morocco, including Malaysia, where Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim failed to shine despite a blatant propaganda campaign at home to portray him as a champion of the Palestinian cause.

Like most leaders, Anwar who several times boasted about his "one-on-one" meetings with key Muslim leaders, including Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman, repeated condemnation of the Israeli atrocities and the call for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza – but little else.

There was no mention of supplying weapons to Palestinian fighters, similar to the response of Malaysia and many others during the ethnic cleansing of Bosnia in the 1990s.

But when major and more "daring" Muslim leaders cannot offer even polite exhortations to their brother rulers to cut diplomatic ties with Israel and impose oil sanctions, we cannot expect much from Anwar, who unlike his predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is not a man with some level of influence in the Muslim world.

But this small act on his part would have made no difference, since, as he has claimed, he has already been threatened by Western powers for standing up to Israel.

So what practical step did the latest OIC meeting propose, as tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians continue to be bombarded in their homes?

The only practical proposal – a non-violent plan, at that – came from Iran's Raisi.

In his speech, he urged Muslim countries to immediately stop the supply of oil and gas to the Zionist entity, to cut off diplomatic ties, and to stop their airspace from being used by Israeli planes.

In the end, though, the OIC came out with meaningless statements. 

Several Arab governments, including host Saudi Arabia, rejected clauses demanding the severance of all ties with Israel, as well as to prevent US bases in their countries from transferring US military equipment to Israel.

Also missing from the final statement was any mention of cutting economic ties with Israel, namely the use of oil as a means of leverage, and the banning of flights to and from Israel through Arab airspace.

According to Israel's Channel 12, Saudi Arabia along with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, Morocco, Mauritania, Djibouti, Jordan and Egypt – all of whom have ties with Israel – rejected these clauses.

While millions of Palestinians wake up every morning surprised that they are still alive in the ruins of their homes, the OIC leaders returned after issuing meaningless statements.

Ceasefire and humanitarian corridors for aid – these are convenient calls at a time when Israel and its chief guardian, the US, have made it clear that there will not be any such moves.

Sure, between the 57 countries, they have enough military might and missiles to obliterate Israel from the face of the earth. 

But this is not what Muslims realistically expect them to do, not when they are aware that a majority of their governments are inept, and some of them in the clutches of Uncle Sam.

Nov 11 will go down as yet another day when Muslim leaders betrayed the Palestinians.