Donald Trump’s flouting of international law with his recognition that [occupied] Jerusalem is Israel’s capital elicited worldwide condemnation, not least from predominately Muslim states. Protestors have taken to the streets throughout the Middle East, Asia and Europe to vent their frustrations burning effigies of the US president. To date there is no nation on earth willing to follow the Trump administration’s lead.
However as always the case, it is the Palestinian people who are bearing the brunt of Israeli retaliation against their valid objections. At least four Palestinians have been killed, over 800 have suffered injuries and more than 80 have been arrested, including boys under the age of ten.
Videos have emerged showing a very young child being dragged away by dozens of Israeli soldiers in riot gear, an elderly man being brutally beaten and a 29-year-old man, robbed of both legs by an Israeli bomb, was shot in the head for the ‘crime’ of waving a Palestinian flag.
Without doubt Trump’s unilateral announcement has been strongly denounced by Arab and Muslim leaders. The Arab League was united in characterising the decision as being “dangerous and unacceptable” as well as “a flagrant attack on a political solution” to the conflict.
Lebanon’s Foreign Minister Jibran Bassil was the most impassioned and outspoken delegate calling for economic sanctions to be imposed on the United States, a call that was met with applause.
Last Wednesday, Muslim heads of state and senior ministers attended an Extraordinary Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to liaise on “unified action.”
Erdogan has been forthright calling Israel a “terror state” and “child-killer state” while blaming Trump for “unleashing conflict.” The OIC concluded by declaring occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. The Turkish leader has pledged to construct an embassy there once the world recognises an independent Palestinian state.
The Lebanese government is mulling opening a mission on land provided by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas but is that a practical proposal given that the occupier issues the permits?
Firebrand rhetoric and statements of intent are welcomed messages of solidarity. Erdogan’s popularity has been given a boost although he has made no moves to cut diplomatic relations with either Tel Aviv or Washington and has made no mention of excluding US military personnel from Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base.
In essence, nothing has changed because the Trump White House is puffed up with its own sense of power and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, doesn’t give a fig as long as he has Washington’s slavish support.
So let’s cut to the chase. The US and Israel have ganged up against the community of nations in what appears to be the belief that they can act as they please with absolute impunity. In reality this gang has been operating for decades.
With few exceptions American presidents have harboured a pro-Israeli bias. What has changed is that Trump doesn’t even bother to hide his inherent dislike of Palestinians and Muslims in general.
Are we to imagine that either Trump or Netanyahu has sleepless nights over the prospect of a third Palestinian uprising called for by Hamas or threats from Hezbollah? Will Trump need a therapist because he will not be invited to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan? Will Vice President Pence develop an inferiority complex over his snubbing by the Palestinian National Authority as well as Muslim and Christian leaders he hoped to meet during his upcoming visit to the region in order to smooth ruffled feathers?
Unless the Muslim world resigns itself to the unpalatable fact that America and its Israeli satellite (or is it the other way around?) rule the planet, then it should take coordinated actions to prove otherwise, such as rejecting the petro-dollar, boycotting US exports and, most effective of all, withdrawing investments from American banks. These steps cannot be taken by just a few countries as they will be made to pay a heavy price for daring to stand up against the superpower. But if they were implemented by all Muslim leaders, or almost all, they would give pause not only to Trump, currently trumpeting the success of his economic policies, but also to his successors. Unfortunately, I won’t hold my breath.
Linda S. Heard is an award-winning British specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She welcomes feedback and can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.