DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — The 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation opens an emergency meeting Sunday over the heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas, the first major move among Mideast nations still grappling with how to address the conflict.
While the Arab League and organizations like the Saudi-based OIC have maintained their view that the Palestinians should have their own independent state, Israel recently has reached recognition deals with several of its members. That, as well as the concerns of some nations over Hamas, has seen a somewhat muted response to the attacks as opposed to the full-throated response of decades past.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki of the Palestinian Authority decries what he called Israel’s “cowardly attacks” at the start of the meeting.
“We need to tell Allah that we will resist to the last day,” he says. “We are facing a long-term occupation. That’s the base of the problem. Crimes are committed against the Palestinians without consequences.”
However, Malki’s Palestinian Authority has no control over Hamas and the Gaza Strip.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu takes a similarly hard line. “Israel alone is responsible for the recent escalation in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza,” Cavusoglu says. “Our warnings to Israel last week went unheeded.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused Israel of “genocide and crimes against humanity.”
“Make no mistake: Israel only understands the language of resistance and the people of Palestine are fully entitled to their right to defend themselves,” Zarif said.
Across the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf states, reactions to the fighting have been mixed. In Qatar, home to the Al-Jazeera satellite network, hundreds turned out late Saturday night to listen to a speech by Hamas’s top leader Ismail Haniyeh. He now splits his time between Turkey and Qatar, both of which back Hamas, as does Iran.