Groups like the OIC and UNSC are beholden to the US, Israel’s staunchest ally, which explains Palestine’s long-suffering humanitarian crisis.
O N April 13, the first day of Ramadan, Israeli police officers raided the Aqsa Mosque and less than a month later, four Palestinian families were evicted from Sheikh Jarrar, a highly disputed area located in East Jerusalem. Both events triggered the Gaza conflict which, to date, has claimed 200 Palestinian lives, including 63 children.
Malaysian leaders have expressed their solidarity with the plight of our Palestinian brethren. Recently, three Asean leaders – Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Sultan Bolkiah Al Hassan of Brunei – issued a joint statement condemning the Palestinian massacre. Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein urged the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to step up to deescalate the conflict. He also called upon the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to address the “conflict” but to no avail.
While these statements and actions are commendable, they are not viable solutions to end the ongoing ethnic cleansing and massacre of the Palestinians. Here’s why:
First, although the UNSC elects 10 non-permanent members for two-year terms, it is still chaired by five permanent representatives with veto powers, of which the United States is one. The US is Israel’s staunchest ally and has vetoed multiple resolutions on the Palestinian statehood. Israel’s racist and colonial policies are enmeshed with domestic bipartisan support for the state’s personal gains to maintain a hold over the oil-rich and strategically important region.
Second, the Arab states’ response to the 73-year Palestinian “Nakba” (in which 750,000 Palestinians were exiled upon the establishment of the newly independent state of Israel in 1948) has shifted radically. Arab states no longer find the need nor have an interest to end the conflict due to their internal political failings. The Arab Spring that began in Tunisia has had a rippling effect on states in the region, such as Egypt, Syria and Bahrain, where the masses are calling for the fall of their corrupted regimes and dictators. Arab states ruled by monarchs/autocrats/dictators are now weary of revolts on their own turf. Often these regimes are the ones who look to the West for support. Until Arab states uphold democracy and detach themselves from over-relying on the West, solidarity with Palestine is rendered meaningless.
Which brings me to my third point, where we question the role of the OIC and the Arab League in all this? My answer is nothing. Much like the UNSC, their role is null. Leaders from these regional organisations are from states that receive wide support from the US and are close allies to the West, which acts in tandem with the Israeli government. The OIC secretary-general is a Saudi, the Arab League’s secretary-general is Egyptian, and the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf’s secretary-general is Kuwaiti – all of whom are tied to their government’s personal relations with the West.
Though states and inter-governmental institutions have failed where they are much needed in conflict-solving as such, real change happens when the voices of the masses are heard loud and clear, from the river to the sea.
Malaysians, as always, are diligent in cases where “Muslims” are involved, especially in the case of Palestine. Their actions of trolling Israel are commendable, to say the least. Malaysians took their frustrations and anger to the internet, to express their frustrations and anger against Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.
We must stand united against war crimes, apartheid and any injustice and continue to support the Palestinian demand for the right to self-determination and statehood. The Palestinian struggle is very much interwoven with other worldwide struggles – one cannot advocate for a “Free Palestine” while repressing other injustices. If so, we are no better than the Israeli occupiers who claim to be a “democratic secular” state while ethnically cleansing and massacring the Palestinians.