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Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) or Oh, I See?

Deep within the challenging task of crafting an analytical chapter for my doctoral dissertation, I found myself deflecting on a question posed by a student during a recent class on Human Rights Violations. Amidst the cacophony of voices in a room filled with over fifty students, a question resonated in my ears like soprano, “Where is the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in all of this? Don’t Muslims have compassion for their fellow beings? Do they not witness the suffering before their eyes? Can they not hear the cries of the innocent?”
I nodded with a heavy heart, struggling to find an immediate response. All I could manage to say was, “My dear student, I once faced a similar question when I inquired about Gilad Shalit, former MIA soldier of the Israel Defense Forces who was taken hostage by Hamas in 2006.” It’s worth noting that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an alliance of Muslim countries dedicated to promoting cooperation among the people of the Muslim world. They rally for each other, stand in solidarity, and advocate for one another. The organization was established following a historic summit held in Rabat, Kingdom of Morocco, on 25 September 1969, in response to the criminal arson of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem. The initial impetus was Palestine, but it’s surprising that it took a field visit to Gaza by the OIC Secretary-General in 2008 and to galvanize diplomatic efforts at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2009. The OIC also extended financial support to the health and education sectors in the same year, although it appears that these efforts have been limited.
It’s crucial to address the second part of your question, where you asked about the role of the United Nations (UN) in all of this. To shed some light on the matter, only states-specifically, states that are members of the United Nations or other states that have become parties to the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) or have accepted its jurisdiction under certain conditions-can be parties to contentious cases.
This raises two key points: First, Palestine is not even recognized as a full member state by the UN. This recognition took place in November 2012, when the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 67/19, upgrading the status of Palestine from a non-member observer entity to a non-member observer state. It’s important to note that this recognition does not grant Palestine full member-state status within the United Nations, but it does grant it certain privileges and rights, such as the ability to participate in General Assembly debates and activities.
Second, Israel is not a member of the ICC, but Palestine joined in 2015. Consequently, crimes committed on the territory of Palestine (by any nationals, including non-Palestinians) and by Palestinian nationals (whether within its territory or abroad) may fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC. In 2021, the ICC initiated an investigation into alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories committed by both Israelis and Palestinians, including incidents during the 2014 Gaza war. Notably, Israel vehemently opposed this inquiry.
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is poised to challenge the longstanding “land for peace” legal framework for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was established through UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and the Oslo Accords. This framework has received endorsement from Israel and all Arab League member states as the sole path to achieving peace. However, at the request of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the ICJ may soon advise that international law obliges Israel to unilaterally and unconditionally withdraw from the disputed Palestinian territories.
Western interests in this case might appear to be limited to defending Israel, a country with a controversial government and policies concerning the territories. Yet, Western allies have their own fundamental national security interests at stake. If they fail to take decisive action in this case, the ICJ could not only undermine the only agreed-upon framework for achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace but also erode states’ inherent rights to self-defense and sovereignty, weaken the UNSC’s authority to maintain international peace and security, and subvert the laws governing armed conflict (LOAC).
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemns the ongoing Israeli military aggression against the Palestinian people. In a clear and resolute statement, the OIC emphasizes that the continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is a fundamental source of instability in the region. This declaration underscores the OIC’s commitment to addressing the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its impact on the well-being and security of the Palestinian population. It serves as a reminder of the pressing need for a comprehensive and peaceful resolution to the conflict in order to achieve stability and lasting peace in the Middle East. But you see dear, it’s just another way of saying Oh I, See.

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