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Middle East OIC declares East Jerusalem to be Palestine’s capital

LEADERS from 57 Muslim countries declared East Jerusalem the capital of Palestine yesterday and urged the international community to do the same.

At its gathering in Istanbul, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) rejected US President Donald’s Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, labelling it “dangerous.” It called on the United Nations to “end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.”

In a statement the OIC confirmed its commitment to a “just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution.”

And it said that the move was “an announcement of the US administration’s withdrawal from its role as sponsor of peace” in the Middle East.

The group was formed in 1969 and considers itself “the collective voice of the Muslim world.”

The emergency meeting was convened in response to the December 6 announcement by Mr Trump that the US was planning to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which it would formally recognise as Israel’s capital.

The OIC said that the recent declaration by Mr Trump, which aimed to change the status of the city, was “null, void and lacks any legitimacy.”

The international community does not recognise Israel’s claims over Jerusalem and have their embassies in Tel Aviv. 

The status of the city — which was occupied by Israel during the 1967 war — is the subject of peace talks and is to be discussed in the latter stages of the process.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas branded the US decision a violation of international law. 

“We shall not accept any role for the United States in the peace process, it has proven its full bias in favour of Israel.

“Jerusalem is and always will be the capital of Palestine,” he told those gathered.

Mr Abbas condemned Mr Trump’s actions as “a gift to the zionist movement” as though he was giving away a US city.

OIC general secretary Yousef al-Othaimeen urged Muslim leaders to work together to present a united response to the move.

“The OIC rejects and condemns the American decision,” he said branding it a “provocation” to Muslims across the world.

“It will create a situation of instability in the region and in the world,” he added.

However with division among many of the countries represented, the summit fell short of reaching an agreement for sanctions on Israel or the United States.

In a joint statement the Palestinian People’s Party and the Communist Party of Israel called for international solidarity with the Palestinian cause and for progressives to escalate the struggle against the Israeli occupation.

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