The Israel onslaught on Gaza - tantamount to state-organised murder - once again highlights the transparent weakness of the Muslim world. Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, is a powerless bystander. It could have relieved the misery of the Palestinians by opening the Rafah crossing-point into Gaza. But it did not. A Karbala-like calamity continues to unfold during the month of Muharram. In the face of a certain American veto, the UN Security Council is rendered toothless, without any bite. The world's top diplomat - the meek UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon - continues to dither. Meanwhile, the OIC remains unfit and inoperative. One significant side- effect of the presence of a dysfunctional organisation is that it effectively blocks the emergence of bona-fide organisations. The formation of the OIC in 1971 had been sparked by an attempt by an Australian in 1969 to burn down the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. King Faisal of Saudi Arabia was the moving spirit behind the OIC. It was Faisal who imposed the oil embargo in the wake of the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War. Then, too, it was Faisal who in February 1974 convened the Islamic Summit in Lahore, where the PLO was recognised as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Faisal's assassination in March 1975 was a setback to Muslim aspirations and the Palestinian cause. None who followed enjoyed a similar leverage. The air and ground attacks on Gaza by Israeli forces has drawn predictably strong condemnatory language from the Muslim world, but there have been no meaningful follow-up steps. It spotlights the widening gulf between the Street (which is defiant) and the Elites (who are compliant). The timing of Israel's assault is noteworthy. It began before Obama takes over the White House on January 20. And it is before the Israeli elections of February 10. The former banks on Bush continuing to issue blank cheques to Israel for the remaining weeks of his presidency; the latter is meant to bolster the electoral prospects of Israeli prime minister contenders like Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, against Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu. The interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is also seeking to expunge the memory of Israel's humiliation at the hands of the Hezbollah during the summer of 2006, along with the interconnected frustration that no attack was launched against Iran. The culpability of present and past US administrations in facilitating Israeli bellicosity is a matter of record. In an interview to CBS-News on December 29, Israeli Foreign Minister Livni said: "We are trying to change realities on the ground...the ultimate goal is to change reality." It may turn out to be a false hope. In the Mideast, attempts to crush enemies by force sometimes make enemies stronger. Hamas may emerge with a stronger standing. And Iran's influence may be enhanced. Occupation may be a ground reality but the bigger reality, and the one constant, is the resistance to occupation. Hence, the punishment for not recognising Israel and for not renouncing resistance to it. Getting into Gaza is one thing; getting out of Gaza may be a different cup of tea. In this connection, it was revealing to read the public inventory released by the US State Department and reported by newspapers on December 23 of the lavish gifts showered by the Arab establishment on US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (which, under US law, she cannot keep). Appeasement continues to be the reigning approach by the rulers. At a minimum, what needs to be done? First, there is a dire need to induct a Muslim country with the power of veto to have a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. It is unacceptable that a community with one fifth of the global population has no representation, voice or input in a vital decision-making forum which matters. A grassroots global movement among the Muslim civil society can and should be mounted to provide the mass pressure necessary to make this happen. Second, there need to be concerted drives mounted to ensure that Muslims worldwide strengthen their presence in "thinking" and influential professions such as law, media, academia, and film-making. Third, there is an immediate need to convene an emergency Islamic Summit once again in Lahore - the nerve-centre of pan-Islamism - with an objective to take concrete steps. Internal Muslim weaknesses permit foes of Islam to wield a free hand in employing terminology which seeks to fix a perception of the Muslim world as "extreme" while concurrently exempting the West from critical scrutiny of its own policies which fan the flames of radical fury. To pursue a military course of action in Gaza is to invite disaster. Here, ancient precedent is instructive. The Biblical strong man Samson pushed against the pillars of a temple in Philistia (the area where Gaza is located), causing the temple to collapse and killing many of his tormentors, but also killing himself. A moral threat is sometimes bigger than a military threat. And a moral threat cannot be extinguished. Palestine remains the "mother of all conflicts" and lies at the core of Islam-West tensions. It will be Obama's most vexing challenge when he assumes the presidency on January 20. Bringing equity and equilibrium to US policy in the Mideast shall be Obama's unavoidable task. And it won't happen just because Obama's middle name is Hussein. Predictably, there will be some change and some continuity. But continuity with past policies on the Palestinian issue is no longer an option. The writer is an attorney at law and senior political analyst