IOC summit in Istanbul: Islamic world asks Trump to give up Jerusalem misappropriation bid

Indeed, USA and Israel have overstepped willingly, seeking to jointly misappropriate Jerusalem in West Bank of Palestine that originally belongs to the people of Palestine.

Ever since foreign Jews were brought by USA-UK imperialist powers and imposed on Palestine, Jews were given Israel -that was carved out of Palestine - to misrule and target the Palestinians and other Arabs.  Since 1948 when illegal Israel came into existence in West Asia, the USA backed and encouraged the Jewish state to go on rampage in Palestine and continue its expansionist drive to kill Palestinians and confiscate their lands for illegal Jewish settlements and Israel continues to use them for all illegal construction activities.  

High-level representatives, including some heads of states from the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), came together on Dec. 13 in Istanbul at a summit to consider a joint stance against USA recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Istanbul Summit brought kings and heads of states and governments from all member countries except Syria just a week after Trump ordered to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The foreign ministers of the OIC counties also came to discuss recent developments before giving the floor to the presidents and head of states and governments.

The move comes after US President Donald Trump instructed the State Department to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in line with the 1995-dated Jerusalem Embassy Act. The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) met as an extraordinary summit in Istanbul, Turkey on Dec. 13 under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, the current OIC term president and has recognized East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and invited other countries to follow suit. Participants include Egypt, the UAE, Morocco and Kazakhstan. Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Qatar Emir al-Thani, Bangladeshi President Abdoul Hamid and Jordanian King Abdullah II were among the most prominent leaders present at the summit. Saudi Arabia was represented by the country’s Islamic affairs minister Salih bin Abdulaziz al-Shaikh.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan presided over the OIC meeting in Istanbul and addressed the opening and closing ceremonies of the summit. In his opening remarks, President of Turkey Erdoğan slammed the US decision and the Israeli government’s actions, saying Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine.  

Erdoğan echoed Abbas’ rejection of the US role as an “honest” broker between Israel and Palestine. “This process has come to an end. Those who take sides cannot be impartial,” he said. In his closing remarks, he said a meaningful response to the crisis was needed to counter Trump’s unilateral move.

Referring to Israel as a “terror and occupying state,” Erdoğan called on Trump to reverse his Jerusalem decision, vowing that Muslims would never give up on a sovereign State of Palestine with East Jerusalem its capital. “I invite all countries supporting international law to recognize Jerusalem as the occupied capital of Palestine. We cannot be late anymore,” he said. In his closing remarks, Erdoğan lashed out at Trump’s move describing the decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as the product of an “Evangelist and Zionist mentality.” I declare once again that Jerusalem is our red line. Haram-I Sherif with its 144 cares, which include al-Aqsa Mosque and Kubbet ul-Sahra, will forever belong to Muslims,” he said.

For his part, Palestinian President Abbas told Muslim leaders that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was a criminal move that should “disqualify the US from Middle East peace talks.” “It is no longer acceptable for the USA to play a role in the political process given its bias in favor of Israel. This is our position and we hope you support us in this,” he said, calling for the establishment of a new international mechanism to hold future peace talks between Israel and Palestine based on a two-state solution.

Abbas described the Istanbul Summit as a “rare success for an Islamic meeting” and praised Erdoğan’s role in organizing the emergency reunion of Islamic countries. “The Islamic world needed to mobilize and the first step taken to this end was a consequence of President Erdoğan’s immediate move,” he said.

King Abdullah of Jordan, who signed a peace treaty with Israel more than 20 years ago, told the Istanbul Summit that he rejected any attempt to change the status quo of Jerusalem and its holy sites. Iran said the Muslim world should overcome internal problems through dialogue in order to unite against Israel. “America seeks only to secure the maximum interests of the Zionists and has no respect for the legitimate rights of Palestinians,” President Hassan Rouhani told the summit.

The 23-article Istanbul Declaration expressed full solidarity with Palestine and rejected and condemned in the strongest terms the unilateral decision by the President of the USA recognizing Al-Quds as the so-called capital of Israel.

The organization’s decision reached during the summit, counters the US recognition of Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel. “We declare East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and invite all countries to recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital,” read the final communiqué released after the OIC Summit in Istanbul.

Trump’s move is an “attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people, a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, a move to extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security,” read the communiqué.

The declaration also said the OIC holds the USA “wholly responsible for the consequences of not retracting this illegal decision,” which the organization regards as “an announcement of the US administration’s withdrawal from its role as sponsor of peace.” It also called on the UN Security Council to assume its responsibilities immediately and reaffirm the legal status of the City of Al-Quds Ash-Sharif, and to end the Israeli occupation of the land of the State of Palestine.

The communiqué affirmed “its readiness to take up this grave violation in the UN General Assembly should the UN Security Council fail to act.”

Turkey, as the term president of the OIC, hosted leaders from Muslim-majority countries, with a joint position of Muslim countries to be announced under the title of the Istanbul Declaration.

Strong message

Indeed it was a rare success for an Islamic meeting as it is for the first time in  their history that Islamic world has come together to discuss their own future by discussing the Trump’s  threat for the existence of Palestinians,  his stupidity called Jerusalem.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Nov. 12 that some Arab countries have failed to sufficiently repudiate Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital because US President Donald Trump “scares them.” “It seems that some Arab countries refrain from challenging Trump,” Çavuşoğlu said.

A very strong message was delivered from the summit,” Çavuşoğlu said after the summit, adding that this message will stress that the decision taken by the US unilaterally breaches international law, and will call all nations to stand against it while also calling nations to recognize the State of Palestine. “If we don’t defend Jerusalem today, when will we defend it?  If we don’t defend Jerusalem, one of the three most sacred places of Islam, what will we defend?” he stated, hinting that the text would cite East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine with pre-1967 borders.

At the end of the 1948 war the armistice line divided Jerusalem in two: The Israel-controlled Western part, and the Jordan-controlled eastern part, which included the old walled city containing important Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious sites. Since the Six Day War in 1967 the whole city has been under Israel’s control as Israel became the wholesale boss fo the region.

Israel's occupation of the West Bank, with its continuing settlement building and military checkpoints, along with Palestinian attacks, have slowed progress towards a final agreement and led many on both sides to dispute the worth of the Accords. The Oslo Accords with Israel in 1993 established a Palestinian National Authority as an interim body to run parts of Gaza and the West Bank, but not East Jerusalem, pending an agreed solution to the conflict.

Israel that occupies Palestine territories with US backing after a brief war with Arab war refuses to vacate the Palestinian lands but only attacks and kills  the Palestinians and their children,  considers Jerusalem, both east and west, as its undivided eternal capital, but this has never been recognised internationally.

Palestinian officials, meanwhile, declared the Mideast peace process “finished.” The Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah, met with European diplomats on Wednesday and told them that the expected U.S. shift on Jerusalem “will fuel conflict and increase violence in the entire region.”

It is not clear what, if any, concrete diplomatic action is planned.

Trump’s move puts the Sunni nation, whose king holds the title of “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques,” in a bind. The kingdom, particularly its powerful crown prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, enjoys close relations with Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner — a relationship that the Saudis need and cannot afford to compromise.

Saudi Arabia, a regional powerhouse that could help the White House push through a Middle East settlement, has voiced strong opposition to Trump’s move, saying it would “provoke sentiments of Muslims throughout the world.” While the Saudis can at least on the surface pressure Trump and distance themselves from Israelis, they will almost certainly continue to cooperate on intelligence sharing regarding Iran.

In 1973, Arab oil producers imposed an oil embargo against the United States in retaliation for American military support for Israel, causing soaring gas prices and straining the US economy in a move that demonstrated Saudi Arabia’s power and Arab unity at the time.

Hamas official Salah Bardawil said the Palestinians were “on a dangerous crossroad today; we either remain or perish.” In Beirut, several hundred Palestinian refugees staged a protest in the narrow streets of the Bourj al-Barajneh camp, some of them chanting “Trump, you are mad.” And in Turkey, hundreds of people took to the streets to stage demonstrations near U.S. diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul.

For its part, Iran would seize upon Trump’s move to show itself the defender of Muslims — and Saudi Arabia cannot be seen as acting any less forceful in its opposition to recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Sunni-led Gulf Arab states, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, share with Israel a deep distrust of Shiite power Iran and their relations with Israel have somewhat thawed. While Israeli PM B Netanyahu acknowledged that Israel won’t be able to sign peace treaties with the Arabs without a deal on the Palestinians, he implied that ties have already been established and have plenty of room to grow. He does not want peace  and peace treaties. “Peace treaties, no. Everything else below that, yes, and it’s happening,” he said.

Reflecting opinion in much of the Arab world, two leading Lebanese newspapers issued front page rebukes to Trump over his expected announcement. The An-Nahar newspaper compared the US president to the late British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour, who a century ago famously promised Palestine as a national home to the Jewish People, in what is known as the Balfour declaration.

The Daily Star newspaper published a full-page photo of the Old City of Jerusalem capped by the Dome of the Rock beneath the headline: “No offense President, Jerusalem is the capital of PALESTINE”

Observation

The decision of Trump to recognize Jerusalem as a part of Israel which itself is an illegal entity imposed by USA and UK on Palestine in 1948,  breaks with decades of US foreign policy, has drawn sharp criticism from Muslim countries.

Criticism of Trump’s move poured in from Cairo to Tehran to Ankara to war-ravaged Syria, reflecting the anxiety over Trump’s announcement, which upends decades of US policy and could ignite violent protests.

Muslims across the Middle East warned of disastrous consequences after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but in a region more divided than ever, many asked what leaders can do beyond the vehement rhetoric. Can they do anything against USA and Israel?

Mohammed ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Egypt’s former vice president who now lives in self-imposed exile, suggested Arabs do have options, including radically reducing the billions of Arab money flowing to America and a radical downsizing of diplomatic, military and intelligence relations with the USA. “But if reaction will be limited to condemnations and denunciations, silence is the more honorable option,” he said in a post on Twitter.

One thing everyone did agree is that Jerusalem is a powder keg and Trump’s decision will have huge implications in the region.

Arab powerhouses are mired in their own internal troubles, their populations tired of wars, and the days when Arab leaders could challenge the United States in a meaningful way are long gone. Beyond the eruption of protests and potential explosion of violence, there is little the Arab world can do to challenge Trump’s move, unanimously decried by leaders.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that if half the funds spent by clearly Saudi Arabia led nations in the region to encourage extremism, sectarianism and incitement against neighbors was spent on liberating Palestine, world wouldn’t be facing today this American egotism.

Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing will host a symposium for Palestinian and Israeli peace advocates in Beijing from Dec 21 to 22. The symposium aims to offer a communication platform for peace advocates from both Palestine and Israel, and provide new ideas to promote the peace process. The peace symposium was one of the initiatives that Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would set up during his meeting with visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in July. Then, Xi affirmed China's support for a two-state solution to the Palestine issue, and for the establishment of an independent, fully sovereign Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.

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