Palestinian injustice fuels Middle East violence, Jordan’s king says

Jordan’s King Abdullah II attending the Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on last week’s US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, in Istanbul. (AFP PHOTO / YOUSEF ALLAN / JORDANIAN ROYAL PALACE)
Updated 14 December 2017
0

Palestinian injustice fuels Middle East violence, Jordan’s king says

ANKARA: The Middle East will never be at peace without a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, King Abdullah of Jordan said on Wednesday.
“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.


On both sides, residents prepare for worst

Palestinians survey a destroyed residential building hit by Israeli airstrikes, in Gaza City, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. (AP)
Updated 11 min 55 sec ago
0

On both sides, residents prepare for worst

  • In Gaza, a number of buildings destroyed in the last war with Israel in 2014 still have not been rebuilt
  • The streets of Gaza City, usually bustling and noisy, were deserted on Tuesday morning

GAZA: Israeli strikes kept Palestinians in Gaza on edge throughout the night over whether another devastating war was beginning, while tens of thousands of Israelis took refuge in shelters as rockets rained down.
“What happened was like an earthquake,” said Abu Ayman Lemzeni, who lives near Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV building in Gaza City destroyed by an Israeli strike.
“As you see, here there is no more the grocery, the pharmacy, the office, the wall, the building.”
“The children are afraid. They are terrorized,” said Gaza resident Jamal Murtaja. “We could not sleep last night or this morning.”
Many had only a short time to flee their homes and found themselves in the street due to a lack of secure shelters. “As soon as we saw the missiles, we ran outside the house,” said Mohammed Aboud, who lives near the former Al-Amal Hotel building.
“We are civilians. We don’t have guns or rockets.”
Just 20 km away, on the other side of Israel’s heavily guarded security fence, the more than 128,000 residents of the coastal Israeli city of Ashkelon spent the night under rocket fire. “The girls are traumatized. It’s not possible,” said father of three Meir Edery.
Edery and his family took refuge in a shelter. A police spokesman said Israelis in Ashkelon have little more than 30 seconds to reach a secure location once an alert sounds.
“We are demanding that the government give us the ability to raise our children securely,” Edery said. “It’s our most basic right.”
Behind him, neighbors called out “destroy Hamas,” the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip and with whom Israel has fought three wars since 2008.
Along the city’s port, nearly all stores had their shutters closed.
Under the azure blue sky, Nissim Arzoane, 65, came to cast his fishing line in the sea, as he does each day.
“We have to show them that we are not afraid,” he said.
Israeli authorities ordered the closure of schools and kindergartens, and many streets were deserted. Betty Calvo, 63, could not sleep at all the previous night.
In Gaza, a number of buildings destroyed in the last war with Israel in 2014 still have not been rebuilt.
The streets of Gaza City, usually bustling and noisy, were deserted on Tuesday morning.
“We have not forgotten the last war in 2014,” said Mohamed Bulbul, who lives in the southern sector of the city.
“People are tired of wars. That’s enough.”