Saudi Arabia has laid down an impossible ultimatum for Theresa May

may saudi arabia

Saudi Arabia and 56 other nations essentially gave Theresa May an ultimatum on 12 December. And it’ll be impossible for the Prime Minister to address it without going against one of the UK’s major allies.

East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine

Saudi Arabia is one of the 57 nations that make up the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). And on 13 December, the OIC met in Turkey. At that summit, it declared East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

The move comes after US President Donald Trump made his own declaration on 6 December. He announced that the US would recognise all of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. He also said that his country would relocate its embassy to the city. But the OIC challenged Trump’s decision, saying:

[We] consider that this dangerous declaration, which aims to change the legal status of the [city], is null and void and lacks any legitimacy…

All together now?

The group also called on other nations to follow suit and “recognise the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital”. Currently, however, the UK has done neither of those things. In fact, MPs recently gave May’s government the chance to recognise Palestine as a state. But it refused. That pits the UK against all 57 Muslim nations in the OIC. Many of these countries are important UK allies, including Saudi Arabia.

Media outlets have highlighted, however, that Saudi Arabia only sent a foreign ministry official to the summit, rather than its head of state. And Al Jazeera‘s Hoda Abdel-Hamid reported that many Palestinians believe Trump’s Jerusalem decision “couldn’t have happened without the green light of Saudi Arabia”. If so, Saudi Arabia is pitting itself against the OIC. That’s not a desirable position as it continues its long battle with Iran for influence in the Middle East.

Palestine is the issue

In short, whatever ‘side’ the UK takes on Jerusalem, it now has to go against one or more of its allies. The same is true for a number of other countries. And these disagreements with allied states could potentially put some of the UK’s controversial arms sales, trade deals and financial transactions at risk.

Read on...

In a speech, Nelson Mandela once said [paywall]:

We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

Mandela essentially meant that none of us truly have social justice until the Palestinians have it too. That’s the “freedom” he spoke of. But our leaders’ freedom to maintain relationships with each other and do whatever deals and business they so choose is also incomplete without freedom for the Palestinians.

And this significant divide on Jerusalem has now made that abundantly clear.

Get Involved!

Support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Take action with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Featured image via James N Mattis/Flickr and EU2017EE Estonian Presidency/Flickr

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed