East Jerusalem declared Palestine’s capital
ISTANBUL. – A summit of Islamic countries held in Istanbul yesterday declared East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine to counter a US decision in favour of Israel.
The summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also invited all countries in the world to “recognise the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital,” said the draft final communiqué unveiled at the conclusion of the one-day meeting.
The heads of state and government present at the summit rejected as “null and void” and condemned “in the strongest terms” the unilateral decision by US President Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the communiqué said. The leaders described the US move as an attack on the rights of the Palestinian people, a “deliberate undermining” of all peace efforts, “an impetus to extremism and terrorism,” and a threat to international peace and security.
They reaffirmed their commitment to a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, warning Washington of “all the consequences” of not retracting its decision.
Without stepping back, the US would lose its role as a sponsor of the peace process, cautioned the leaders from the OIC, the second largest inter-governmental organisation after the United Nations with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.
Addressing a press conference following the summit, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the United States is no longer an honest broker of peace.
“We cannot accept any more the United States as a peace broker, because basic requirements of being a peace broker are to be honest and objective,” he said.
Trump broke long-held US practice by announcing his decision on December 6 to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city, sparking days of violent clashes in the Gaza Strip and West Bank as well as protests in other Arab countries.
Speaking at the press conference, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also signalled the end of US mediating role, “because a peace process can only be conducted with an objective mediator.”
Saying Trump “will play and dance by himself,” Erdogan urged the US president to reverse his “wrong decision,” stressing that “insisting on a mistake has no benefit to anyone.”
The summit communiqué also urged the UN Security Council to protect the legal status of Jerusalem and end the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land.
Addressing the opening session of the summit, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged to cooperate without preconditions with all Islamic countries to defend Jerusalem, while King Abdullah II of Jordan spoke of the need to offer support to enable the Palestinians to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as the capital. – Xinhua.