The Islamist group on Sunday called on Israel to stop the killings of Palestinian civilians during the tense war between them and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and that divisions have erupted between the two countries over their knowledge of Israel.
A statement from the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation focuses on the earlier ones issued by a Saudi-based group, including in support of the decades-old proclamation that Palestinians have their own nation and East Jerusalem as their capital.
However, the recent transactions between Israel and certain nations in the group – as well as their concerns about Hamas – have seen strategists in some areas criticize each other.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the massacre of Palestinian children today follows the usual rhetoric. He also said that this criminal and murderous regime has once again proved to be a force for good.
The past week has seen some of the worst violence in Israel and the Palestinian Territories since the 2014 war in Gaza, with soldiers firing arrows and Israel striking a line along the coast going home to two million people in a blaze. At least 188 Palestinians were killed in Gaza and 1,230 were injured. Eight people were killed in Israel.
A statement from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation urged Israel to honor the entry of Muslims into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the holiest site in Islam, and to prevent residents from forcing Palestinian families out of their homes.
Afghan Foreign Minister Mohammad Haneef Atmar said that the plight of the Palestinian people is a bleeding wound in the Muslim world today.
But at a videoconference he saw other delegates instead setting fire to countries such as Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates, Muslim countries reached common ground agreements last year to welcome Israel. While Egypt and Jordan previously reached peace agreements, Palestinian supporters criticized the new countries for knowing Israel before the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has joined the Zarif in criticizing the normalization, although the Israel maintains political ties with Ankara.
He said that there are a few who have lost the moral compass and expressed support for Israel. Further he also said that there are incomplete statements of heart in their family, how can they criticize others? Who will take our words seriously?
Zarif said that make no mistake: Israelis only understand the language of protest against the Palestinian people and have a full right to their right to self-defense.
Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in 2007, did not take part in the summit, which was preceded by a United Nations consultation on the issue.
Across the Arabian Peninsula, the response to the war is similar. In Qatar, home of the Al-Jazeera satellite network, hundreds came out on Saturday night to listen to a speech by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. The Speaker of the Kuwaiti Parliament reportedly spoke to Haniyeh on Saturday, as well as Qatar’s foreign minister.
Meanwhile, in Bahrain and the UAE, government-linked media did not report on the outbreak of non-stop violence like other networks in the region.
There is a murmur of disagreement though. In Bahrain, civil society organizations have signed a letter urging the government to expel an Israeli ambassador. In the UAE, where political parties and protests are illegal, Palestinians have quietly expressed their anger, worried about losing their residency permit. Other Emiratis have also expressed concern.
Only regional democracy – was written quoted on by the Twitter author and political analyst Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi about the Israeli strike at the Gaza Strip, which housed the offices of The Associated Press and Al-Jazeera.
Hussein Ibish, a senior scholar at the Washington Gulf States Institute based in Washington, said most Gulf Arab leaders feared Hamas rocket bombings “as a sarcastic, dangerous, arbitrary arousal and a threat to Israel and Palestine in Gaza alike.” That takes the pressure on those Gulf leaders to respond, unlike in other disputes involving the Al-Aqsa Mosque or when Israeli residents evict Arab families from their homes, he said.
“There will be no greater empathy for what is widely viewed in the Gulf as the revenge of cruel and unjust Israel,” writes Ibish, “but it will be much easier for Gulf leaders and many citizens to view the exchange as a vicious cycle of harm to ordinary people. ”