The world to recognize east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, Turkey said on Wednesday at the opening of an extraordinary summit of. The Islamic summit called in response to a US decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital.
The meeting of leaders and ministers from more than 50 Muslim countries takes place a week after US President Donald Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem, which triggered widespread protests in the Middle East and Islamic world.
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at email@example.com.
“Firstly, the Palestinian state must be recognized by all other countries. We must all strive together for this,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said as foreign ministers convened to a pre-summit meeting.
“We, who recognize East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital, must encourage other countries to recognize the Palestinian state on the basis of its 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.
“We’ve gathered here in order to stop the persecution. The U.S. has deeply wounded humanity’s conscience. Israel is aiming to legitimize its occupation attempt. This U.S. decision is null and void for us,” the foreign minister said.
Cavusoglu said the OIC nations “are here to say ‘stop’ to tyranny,” telling the gathered representatives that the US decision aims to “legitimize Israel’s attempt to occupy Jerusalem.”
“They expect the Islamic nation to remain silent,” the foreign minister said. “But we will never be silent. This bullying eliminates the possibility of peace and the grounds for shared life. The US’ decision is null for us.”
Jerusalem, revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims alike, is home to Islam’s third holiest site and has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades.
He said the summit would declare east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and call for Israel to withdraw from territories it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel later annexed east Jerusalem in an action not recognized internationally.
Turkey has said Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would plunge the world “into a fire with no end,” and called an emergency summit of the world’s main pan-Islamic body, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to urge Washington to change course.
Cavusoglu said this week Turkey would not call for sanctions in response to the US move, but would appeal for all countries that have not formally recognized Palestine as a state to do so, and to issue a strong rejection of the US decision.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will also be attended and will address the summit, which including Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, Jordanian King Abdullah II, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, and Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who regards himself a champion of the Palestinian cause, labelled Israel as a “terrorist state” and called for a strong reaction.
But bridging the gaps in a Muslim political community that includes arch rivals Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran will be a far from easy task, let alone announcing any concrete sanctions agreed between the 57 OIC member states.
Furthermore, 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 OIC statement.
In an emergency meeting in Cairo last weekend, Arab foreign ministers demanded that the US rescind Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The Trump administration says its decision does not affect Jerusalem’s future borders or status. Trump committed to reaching peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Reuters, the Associated Press and AFP contributed to this report.