Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Arab League (AL) issued a joint resolution on Saturday as Israeli airstrikes continue to hit the illegally blockaded Gaza Strip, calling for the creation of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East and effective action against war crimes perpetrated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
The resolution issued following a joint summit of the OIC and AL in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, reminded far-right Otzma Yehudit party deputy and Israeli Heritage Minister Amihai Eliyahu’s remarks that dropping a “nuclear bomb” on the Gaza Strip was “an option,” calling for a nuclear-free zone, marking a first in communique released after the organization’s emergency / extraordinary Islamic summits.
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Warning against the possibly devastating consequences should Israel decide to use its stockpile of nuclear weapons, the resolution said that the prospects are a threat to world peace.
The resolution condemned “the hateful, extremist and racist acts and statements made by ministers in the Israeli occupation government, including the threat by one of the ministers to use nuclear weapons against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, being a serious threat to global peace and security,” adding that convening a conference on the issue and establishing a “zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, held within the framework of the United Nations, and its objectives to confront this threat” are a necessity.
Israel strictly adheres to the policy of ambiguity when it comes to nuclear weapons and has also declined to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), citing “national security interests.”
In the joint resolution, the AL and the OIC also condemned the “Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, war crimes and barbaric and inhumane massacres” and “against the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem.”
A comparison of the current resolution, also signed by OIC and its previous final communique, resolutions — such as the 6th Extraordinary Islamic Summit in 2017 or the 5th Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference in 2016 — shows that the latest one places a stronger emphasis on taking actions against Israeli crimes against Palestinians rather than just condemning them, or issuing general calls for action.
The resolution issued in 2017 emphasized that “the central mission and raison d’être of the OIC is protecting the City of Al-Quds Al-Sharif, its historical and legal status, its spiritual place, and to take all necessary measures to put an end to the violations committed by Israel” and mandated the general secretariat of the OIC “to prepare recommendations on appropriate measures that can be implemented in this regard” – falling short of providing a specific roadmap how to do so.
Likewise, the 2016 resolution called “for all possible measures to end Israeli Occupation of Al-Quds Al-Sharif,” without going into further detail.
However, the latest resolution straight-out called on the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) to conduct an investigation into “the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel against the Palestinian people” in all occupied Palestinian territories.
The resolution also called for convening an international peace conference “as soon as possible, through which a credible peace process will be launched based on international law, international legitimacy resolutions, and the ‘land for peace’ principle, within a specific time-frame and with international guarantees, leading to an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, including East Al-Quds, the occupied Syrian Golan, and the Lebanese Shebaa Farms, Kafr Shuba hills, and the outskirts of the town of al-Mari, and the implementation of the two-state solution.”
The mention of the Israeli-occupied Lebanese and Syrian territories became a first since 2012 as the resolution issued after the fourth extraordinary Islamic summit conference held in Mecca also emphasized them 11 years ago.
On the other hand, the resolution further demanded the establishment of a joint media monitoring unit by the two General Secretariats to document all Israeli crimes against Palestinians, using digital media platforms to expose “illegal and inhuman practices” carried out by Israel.
Moreover, the resolution urged all nations to cease exporting weapons and ammunition to Israel used by its military and what it referred to as “terrorist settlers” involved in the killing of Palestinian civilians and the destruction of their homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches, and other properties.
Research conducted by Anadolu showed that the OIC only referred to the Jewish settlers as “terrorists” in the latest resolution and the previous one issued in 2018 – when violent settler activity caused high tensions in the region.
Of particular note is the call to “break the siege on Gaza and impose the entry of Arab, Islamic, and international humanitarian aid convoys.”
The latest resolution marks the first time the OIC referred to the illegal blockade of Gaza as a “siege” – at least in a resolution released after an emergency / extraordinary OIC meeting.
The nature of the latest resolution also makes it more prominent compared to previous resolutions, as OIC previously resorted to issuing general calls to the international community or organizations to take necessary actions against Israeli crimes in Gaza and the Palestinian territories but did not go into detail on specifically how the Islamic world should act in the face of Israeli oppression of Palestinians.
A good example of this is the call for establishing the “Financial Safety Net” that marked a solid effort to alleviate Palestinians’ financial struggles.
The resolution, unlike previous ones that rarely mentioned the financial side of things, not only offered a solid plan but also called for “activating the Arab and Islamic Financial Safety Net, per the resolution adopted by the 14th Islamic Summit Conference and resolutions of the Arab Summits, to provide financial contributions and financial, economic and humanitarian support to the Government of the State of Palestine and UNRWA,” referring to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
The resolution further emphasized the “need to mobilize international partners to reconstruct Gaza and mitigate the effects of the massive destruction caused by the Israeli aggression as soon as it stops.”
Turkish President Erdogan praises the latest resolution
Amid Israel’s reckless war crimes, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also praised the resolution, saying that it not only condemns Israeli settlers as terrorists but also introduces a geostrategic dimension and calls for real action rather than resorting to general calls against Israel.
“Yes, in the tradition of the OIC, there is generally condemnation. States do not take much action for various reasons,” he said.
The president also said that “declaring settlers as terrorists is very, very important.”
“Since the last Extraordinary Executive Committee Meeting, we have been clear about what should be done, and we requested that the latest developments be included in the final declaration in detail and we had it accepted,” Erdogan added, further stating that Türkiye contributed the most in offers concerning how collective action against Israel should be carried out.
“For the first time, we are proposing a ‘Denuclearization Conference’ in the region, based on Israel’s nuclear weapons,” he added.
Erdogan also emphasized the importance of including “breaking the blockade” in the text, referring to the blockade Israel has been illegally imposing on Gaza for 16 years.