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Israel-Arab accords an earthquake for Palestinians, who pin their hopes on Biden

20 102 49
30.10.2020

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has long been considered an anti-Israel institute, to put it mildly.

It was established following an Australian tourist’s attempt to burn down Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque in 1969. Its members are the representatives of 57 Islamic states, including Turkey and Iran, and for the past four years the organization has been headed by Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen, a Saudi politician. In February, the organization rejected US President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace initiative, calling on its members not to cooperate with it.

On Monday, however, Al-Othaimeen sounded a very different tone.

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In an interview to Sky News in Arabic, Al-Othaimeen said: “We need to think outside the box… This [Palestinian] issue has been going on for over 70 years. We have tried wars and throwing the Israelis into the sea; we have tried a lot. The new generation of our Palestinian brothers needs to try ideas that will lead to a solution to this problem, which is of interest to us all, but in new ways, ways that have not yet been tried, in order to reach a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of this state.” Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General, Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

Al-Othaimeen then asked: “Why insist on the path of resistance and boycott and distancing? What should be distanced are the traditional and familiar ideas.”

A few months ago such statements would have been inconceivable. That they were uttered this week, by the head of this organization, shows how the Israeli normalization agreement with Sudan, and the earlier agreements with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, have generated nothing short of a Middle East earthquake. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, talks during a joint news conference with then Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, left and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Secretary General, Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, right, following the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), in Istanbul, May 18, 2018. Turkey urged Muslim nations at the OIC summit to stand with the Palestinians against Israel, warning that the American decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would only be the first among many moves against the Islamic world. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

The world view of generations of Arabs in the region, in both Sunni and Shiite states, was shaped around the Palestinian issue and the conflict with Israel. Yet here before the astonished eyes of hundreds of millions of Muslim and Christian Arabs — and especially the Palestinians’ shocked gaze — that foundational worldview has collapsed. Suddenly, the Palestinians – who would wave the prospect of normalized relations with the Arab world as the carrot to try to convince Israel to resolve the conflict with them — now find themselves........

© The Times of Israel


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