– Saudi snub? –
But bridging the gaps in a Muslim political community that includes arch rivals Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran is far from easy, let alone announcing any concrete measures agreed between the 57 OIC member states.
Several key players, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are unlikely to want to risk their key relationship with Washington for the sake of an anti-Washington OIC statement.
Arab countries have so far condemned Israel without announcing any concrete measures.
Aaron Stein, resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, told AFP he believed Muslim leaders would merely “issue a boiler-plate condemnation”.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Jordanian King Abdullah II and Lebanese President Michel Aoun are among the heads of state attending, as well as the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait and presidents of Afghanistan and Indonesia.
The level of Saudi representation — critical if the final statement is to carry long-term credibility — was only at the level of a senior foreign ministry official.
“Some countries in our region are in cooperation with the United States and the Zionist regime and determining the fate of Palestine,” seethed Rouhani, whose country does not recognise Israel and has dire relations with Saudi Arabia.
But as the summit was being held, Saudi King Salman in Riyadh echoed the calls over Jerusalem, saying it was the “right” of the Palestinians to establish “their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital”.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes, was also in attendance and warmly greeted by Erdogan.
A surprise guest was Venezuela’s leftist President Nicolas Maduro whose country has no significant Muslim population but is a bitter critic of US policy.
Jerusalem’s status is perhaps the most sensitive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel sees the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector, which the international community regards as annexed by Israel as the capital of their future state.
Trump’s announcement last week prompted an outpouring of anger in the Muslim and Arab world, where tens of thousands of people took to the streets to denounce the Jewish state and show solidarity with the Palestinians.
The decision sparked protests in Palestinian territories, with four Palestinians killed so far in clashes or Israeli air strikes in response to rocket fire from Gaza and hundreds wounded