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Muslim leaders fail to deliver action plan on Jerusalem at OIC

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the extraordinary summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, Turkey on 13 December 2017 [Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency]

Some 57 Muslim leaders who gathered for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul today failed to put forward a strategy with which to deal with the US designation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Despite Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas labelling the conference “the most important and successful Summit to have taken place”, the world leaders departed having only repeated their condemnation the announcement of US President Donald Trump last week.

Abbas restated that Trump’s move violates international law and contravenes UN resolutions. He called for countries across the world to recognise the State of Palestine and support its calls to join international organisations.

OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen again reiterated comments of a week ago, namely that the organisation rejects Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and its plan to move its embassy to the Holy City.

Jordan’s King Abdullah stressed that Jerusalem is in the heart of all Muslims and Christians, whilst Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also emphasised that Muslim countries should condemn the move.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan echoed the comments of other leaders, stating: “We have repeated on numerous occasions that this US decision is not accepted and will only serve to help extremists.”

Read: 70% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign immediately

The international community has been unanimous in its condemnation of Trump’s decision. All the Muslim leaders present at today’s conference have also criticised the move multiple times since the announcement last week.

However, many have panned the response from Arab and Muslim leaders as meaningless, given that no diplomatic ties with Israel or the US have been severed, despite continual rhetoric that Jerusalem is a “red line”. The OIC was also criticised for taking a week to hold the summit, after many days of Palestinian and global protest.

Saudi Arabia was notably not represented at today’s summit, furthering suspicions that Riyadh gave Trump the go ahead prior to the announcement of his decision.

Meanwhile, in the Palestinian territories, six people have died and some 1,500 have been injured since last Thursday as Israeli forces responded to protesters with violence. Over 100 people have been detained, including several children, as shown by a video published on Sunday by B’Tselem. Israel has also resumed shelling of Gaza and towns and villages in the West Bank were raided overnight.

Read: Netanyahu fails to sell Trump Jerusalem recognition in Europe

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