The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), an associated organization of Muslim nation, has declared East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, rejected the US stance as “dangerous” and called on the international community to follow in its footsteps, while at the same time stripping America’s leader Donald Trump the role of a peacemaker in the region.
In a draft declaration prepared for the summit of the Muslim leaders in Istanbul, Turkey on Wednesday, a week after US President Donald Trump declared Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the leaders said they considered Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a sign of U.S. withdrawal from its role as a sponsor of Middle East peace. The group of Muslim leaders on Wednesday called on all countries to “recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital”.
In a statement, the OIC added that the 57-member group remains committed to a “just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution”.
It also called on the UN to “end the Israeli occupation” of Palestine and declared Trump’s administration liable for “all the consequences of not retracting from this illegal decision”.
“We consider that this dangerous declaration, which aims to change the legal status of the [city], is null and void and lacks any legitimacy,” the group said.
Speaking earlier on Wednesday, Yousef al-Othaimeen, the OIC’s secretary general, rejected the US decision and urged Muslim leaders to work together to present a united response to the move.
“The OIC rejects and condemns the American decision,” he said. “This is a violation of international law … and this is a provocation of the feelings of Muslims within the world.
“It will create a situation of instability in the region and in the world.”
However, Israelis’ Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday rejected the declaration by Muslim leaders of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that East Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine saying that “all these statements failed to impress us”.
“The truth will win in the end and many countries will certainly recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and also move their embassies,” he added in response to the comments made by Muslim leaders during the OIC’s emergency summit in Istanbul.
The extraordinary OIC summit was called for by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following Trump’s announcement last week. Founded in 1969, the OIC bills itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world”.
The Istanbul summit was attended by just over 20 heads of state. Saudi Arabia, the host of the OIC headquarters, sent only a senior foreign ministry official. Others, including Egypt, deployed their foreign ministers and Nigeria was conspicuously not in attendance.
Netanyahu further stated: “Not only is it the capital of Israel but in Jerusalem, we uphold freedom of worship for all faiths and it is we who are making this promise in the Middle East even though no one else does.”
“The Palestinians would do well to recognize reality and work toward peace, not extremism, and acknowledge an additional fact regarding Jerusalem,” he said.
On Monday, Netanyahu met European Union leaders in Brussels and expressed his hope that “all or most” of the European states would move their embassies to Jerusalem. The EU shunned his call, saying the two-state solution remains the only path in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The status of Jerusalem is extremely sensitive and is one of the main sticking points in efforts to resolve the conflict.
Trump’s move kindled a wave of protests from Asia, through the Middle East, to North Africa, with tens of thousands of people taking to the streets in recent days to denounce his decision.