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The OIC Extraordinary Summit, What’s Next?

We are surrounded by change, and the issue of Jerusalem in the present reflects this deeply. The growing momentum of the present comes from a sharp awareness that unity is necessary if we are to preserve the integrity of our countries, future of our societies and the vitality of our civilization. Why is this so? Because this is the last line. Our histories reflect a painful retreat of concessions and divisions. To find a shared cause in reversing this grim reality is a protection against all that we still stand to lose, and the awakening of resolve to reclaim the future.

Turkey alone witnessed 39 gripping demonstrations took place, filling the streets of this ancient city with a common cry transcending differences. This was extraordinary given that it was repeated in multiple capitals around the world. Strangers, unknown to one another, without direction, gave voice to the issue at the very heart of seeking justice. 

In truth, what we witness today is not a setback. Perhaps we associate feelings of despair with the Palestinian issue simply due to the dormancy of the issue. For too long, too little has happened in spite of the gradual encroachment on the integrity of Palestine. The popular sentiment of over 1.5 billion Muslims, has not dimmed. Our despair is unfounded. The U.S. position, though ill-advised, might lead to a change in the legal status of the city, and may well pressure other states to follow his path in normatively defining international law on this matter due to economic and security interests with the U.S. The will of the people, however, remains singular. We should take heart in it’s enduring nature. 

In truth, we are not alone. The world is united in its solidarity for the Palestinian cause, as evidenced by the outstanding international support we see for it. If not for the singular U.N. Security Council veto employed by the United States, the Palestinian status quo would be altogether different.

Recently, leaders from the Muslim world gathered in Istanbul at an Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit in a show of unity to address, for the first time in a long time, an issue of singular significance. Now though, we have heard the voices of the world, no longer dormant. We have tasted solidarity, and witnessed the enduring nature of the cause. This is only the beginning, as political will is translated into action. What was lost over a century cannot be reclaimed in a day or even in one campaign. We require a gradual, systemic, informed approach drawing on our shared strengths with a pragmatic and untiring commitment to a future that is possible if we only make the effort. We must seize the day and intensify our efforts now more than ever, seeking to make the best of this unique moment in an opportunity for unity like no other. 

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He is the Director of International Office, Ibn Haldun University.