With the outbreak of the aggression on 7 October, some expected the Arab countries not to support the Resistance movement in Gaza, as was the case during the previous aggressions fought by Gaza against the Zionist State from 2006 until 2021, which were repeated about every two years. However, others were deceived by what the media in the Arab countries said regarding sympathy with the residents of Gaza. The Arab-Muslim summit confirmed the credibility of the proof that those countries failed the residents of Gaza, beginning with the delay of its convening until 35 days after the aggression started, thus solidifying the belief that the postponement of the summit was in coordination with the American administration and the Western countries, to give the Israeli government the opportunity to achieve its goal of eliminating the Resistance. Now, more than twenty days have passed since the summit resolutions were issued and nothing has been achieved, as the efforts of the Committee that was formed to seek a ceasefire have stopped, and the Rafah crossing has not been opened as decided by the summit.
I wish the matter was limited to the failure to support Gaza and alleviate its suffering and blockade but, rather, we see that a number of those countries are coordinating with Israel and the Western countries to eliminate the Resistance, impose a blockade on the people of Gaza and implement Israel’s plan to displace Gazans. The US Congress is also seeking to put pressure on Egypt, Turkiye, Iraq and Yemen, by linking American aid to those countries to the displacement plan.
The events have also revealed Saudi Arabia’s attempt to stop Iran supporting the Resistance in exchange for Saudi investments in Iran, in addition to Egypt’s continued blockade of Gaza and the UAE’s reception of the Israeli President despite his ongoing criminal bombing of Gaza’s children and women. We also see continued verbal support only from countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Turkiye and Iran, although the main goal of the Gaza war is to continue to weaken the Muslim countries so that they remain importing vassal States, not only to eliminate Hamas as they claim.
Alternative popular entities to government entities
Therefore, dependence remains on the Muslim nations to return to the concept of the Islamic nation that transcends the nation states, whether regarding the support of Gaza or others, such as the oppressed minority in China or in Myanmar or other. This requires the need to establish entities that represent the people, rather than entities representing the governments, such as the Arab League, the so-called Arab Parliament, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and other organisations controlled by the governments.
There must be popular entities established in the fields of human rights, media, humanitarian aid, etc., either by strengthening the existing entities, merging them, or creating new entities depending on what the specialists in the various fields believe. It is important for the Muslim individual to see that there are entities that represent their ambitions and pains throughout the Islamic world. These entities will then gain experience, status and influence, over time, during which it will face obstacles in terms of funding, qualified staff, breach attempts and the location of its establishment given the Western crackdown on anything Muslim. There is also the difficulty of establishing them in any Arab or Muslim country, given the crackdowns on freedoms and considerations related to the interests of these countries’ leaders.
Let the Gaza issue be the beginning of the popular movement in the countries of the Muslim world, and the basis for communication with the elements that advocate for Palestinian rights in the countries of the West that are not deceived by the Western countries’ promotion of human and women’s rights, etc., which they have proven is limited only to their citizens. They have shown they have double standards which appeared when comparing between the West’s position on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the genocidal war that Israel is waging on the Palestinian people, whether in Gaza or the West Bank, despite the huge number of victims.
Confidence in one’s abilities and hope
We also should not count on the positions of neither China nor Russia be relied upon, as they each have their own interests, and their hostility to Islam unites them with the Western countries. They benefited from the Gaza war to ease the Western focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the various forms of American hostility towards China.
Among the issues of popular interest is the issue of dealing with the psychological warfare that Israel and the Western countries are waging on the issue of Palestine, the false news, the news of the material losses and the types of deadly weapons that the Western countries are providing Israel with, which would prompt Muslims to refer back to the Book of God as a reference for facing problems, calming their souls and restoring certainty. An example is the Quranic verse, “Fighting has been made obligatory upon you ˹believers˺, though you dislike it. Perhaps you dislike something which is good for you and like something which is bad for you. Allah knows and you do not know” and the verse, “Those who were warned, ‘Your enemies have mobilised their forces against you, so fear them,’ the warning only made them grow stronger in faith and they replied, ‘Allah ˹alone˺ is sufficient ˹as an aid˺ for us and ˹He˺ is the best Protector.’ So, they returned with Allah’s favours and grace, suffering no harm. For they sought to please Allah. And surely Allah is ˹the˺ Lord of infinite bounty.”
Another issue is spreading confidence and hope through the actions of the Resistance in Palestine and their perseverance for over 50 days, despite the continuous air, sea and land bombardment and the siege that has been ongoing for more than 17 consecutive years. They managed to do so, despite the enormous disparity in combat equipment and the lack of an anti-aircraft defence system. We must also look into the history of the struggle of the nations who fought for liberation in Vietnam, Algeria, South Africa, India and others and the price paid in thousands of lives and injuries and provide innovative ideas for how to help the residents of Gaza persevere and ways to get goods into Gaza, despite the siege.
We must also focus on the issue of boycotting the goods and services of the countries that support the aggression against Palestine, not only to deal a blow to the sales of the companies of those countries, but also to practice self-discipline and adopt unified positions that transcend national borders, as well as to encourage local products that provide job opportunities and reduce unemployment. It also helps increase commercial ties between Muslim countries as an alternative for the products of the Western countries, which would increase relations between Muslims as individuals, companies and research centres and experiences of successful development and increase tourism among them.
Developmental experiences face the roots of problems
There is also the issue of awareness of the negative repercussions of remaining in the orbit of the Western countries, and their international institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation, and which did not succeed in curing the problems of any Muslim country that resorted to it. Instead, their problems grew after, following the so-called reform programs and its debts and budget deficits increased. We must also be aware that the rulers of Muslim countries are a major reason for the decline in their countries’ status, along with their use of their country’s armies to oppress their people and not defend their common causes, wasting the country’s resources and their continued economic and military dependence by neglecting production issues and, instead, giving attention to other secondary issues and none of this solves their chronic social, economic and cultural problems.
Let the issue of Palestine be a spotlight revealing our troubled reality and cause us to start working to find a way to treat it in the various fields with a solution that takes into account the local conditions and goes to the roots of the problems and not to their symptoms, as the International Monetary Fund programs do. This spotlight must also emphasise the issues of freedom to unleash the energies of the people, while realising that the accumulation of problems over many years means that the solutions need many years, as well, and that if Israel has been besieging Gaza for more than 17 years and is tying it to its economy, the situation of the Muslim countries is not much different in terms of the forms of the economic, political and cultural blockade.
Just as the Resistance relied on itself to build its military capabilities and connect with the public through social and economic work, as well as relying on scientific staff in various technical specialities in order to achieve what it has in terms of equipment, techniques, staff and steadfastness over 35 years, the Muslim nations are invited to repeat the journey of self-reliance to benefit from its competitive advantages, solve its problems and have a place on the international scene.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Arabi21 on 3 December, 2023.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.