“The violence witnessed in the Arab world and beyond is the result of the absence of a just solution to the Palestinian cause and the resulting feelings of injustice and frustration,” the king told an emergency summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul.
He rejected any attempt to change the historical and legal status of Jerusalem and its holy sites, following last week’s US decision to recognize the city as Israel’s capital and move its embassy there.
The decision was unlawful and could “trigger chaos in the region,” and the world should recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine, the OIC, the collective voice of the Muslim world, said in a declaration after the meeting.
“We reaffirmed once again the vital importance of preserving the sanctity and historical status of Al-Quds and Haram Al-Sharif for the whole Muslim Ummah, emphasizing that the Muslim Ummah could strongly defend its causes globally only by acting in unity and solidarity,” the declaration signed by 48 countries said.
The OIC expressed its support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and its “attachment to a just and comprehensive peace based on a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Palestine.”
Turkey hosted the meeting in its capacity as current chair of the OIC. “It is a requisite for countries that have not yet recognized the Palestinian state to take this essential step, to preserve a balance ensuring justice in the region,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told delegates.
“Without bringing a fair and sustainable solution to the Palestinian issue, we cannot talk about enduring peace and stability, either in the region or on a global scale,” he said.
The US mediation role in the peace process was over and the UN had to consider the situation, Erdogan said.
Abbas urged the OIC to take “very clear and strong decisions” to protect Jerusalem’s places of worship for both Muslims and Christians.
The OIC meeting showed once again the value of Muslim countries coming together to protect and dignify important Islamic sites, said Enes Ayasli, research assistant at Sakarya University in Turkey.
Recognizing East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital would be a counter-move with unknown practical repercussions, but it would provide an effective instrument to gather countries supporting the Palestinian cause, Ayasli told Arab News.