Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejects Israel’s disputed ‘nation-state’ bill

OIC’s Committee of Permanent Representatives held a meeting in Jeddah on Thursday to discuss Israel’s latest controversial bill. (SPA)
Updated 06 December 2018

Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejects Israel’s disputed ‘nation-state’ bill

  • OIC secretary-general said that the OIC would continue efforts to expose racist Israeli policies and push for the prosecution of the occupation forces through co-sponsoring international initiatives

JEDDAH: A committee at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) denounced and rejected a controversial Israeli law declaring the country a predominantly Jewish state in a meeting convened on Wednesday.
Dubbed the “Basic Law,” or the “nation-state” bill, the legislation is designed to ensure Jewish rights over those of minorities, a move that was widely denounced within the international community and even among members of the Jewish diaspora. The Israeli government passed the bill by a narrow margin in May.
The Committee of Permanent Representatives at the OIC, which convened the meeting at the request of the Saudi government, expressed strong condemnation of Israel’s latest form of sanctioned racial discrimination.
The OIC declared the latest bill void since it contravenes the basic tenets of international law and warned against the institutionalization of racism through religion.
“Enshrining Israeli colonialism in law and upholding it as a national value is merely a means to abolish Arab identity and the Arabic language among Palestinians living in Israel,” read the OIC statement. “It justifies ethnic cleansing and denies an entire people their existence, history, identity and rights.”
Permanent members of the committee discussed the impact of the bill, which aims to reinforce Israeli settlement ideology and strengthen occupation policies, on the political and historical rights of the Palestinian people.
“These racist laws practiced by Israel, the occupying power, will only further legitimize injustice, aggression and violations, making Palestinian rights an international humanitarian responsibility more than ever before,” said Yousef Al-Othaimeen, OIC secretary-general.
He said that the OIC would continue efforts to expose racist Israeli policies and push for the prosecution of the occupation forces through co-sponsoring international initiatives.
“We reaffirm that just and lasting peace cannot be achieved until Israel ends its colonial occupation and abolishes its racist laws and policies,” he said.
Mahir Karaki, the permanent representative of the state of Palestine to the OIC, echoed the view.
“The international community must take responsibility for the issue,” he told Arab News.
“We also call on OIC member states to double up efforts against Israeli racism through categorical rejection of this law and through lobbying international organizations, parliaments, human rights organizations and international courts to prevent its implementation.”
Karaki added that Israel has taken full advantage of US support for Israel’s right-wing government.
In recent months, the US has transferred its embassy to Jerusalem, closed the Palestine Liberation Organization office in Washington, DC and halted support for the UN Relief and Works Agency.
“All these steps aim to force the Palestinian leadership and its people to accept the Israeli narrative, which denies the Palestinian right to self-determination,” said Karaki.
“We hope that the US administration will reconsider its stance, as it is detrimental to the peace process. The White House must play a more proactive role toward peace.”
He emphasized the dedication of the Palestinian leadership toward resolving the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The OIC also celebrated the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, a UN-organized event held yearly on Nov. 29.
The event was attended by Mahmoud Al-Asadi, consul general of the State of Palestine in Jeddah, along with other diplomats and journalists.
Al-Asadi thanked the Saudi government for its continued support to the Palestinian people and stressed on the need to help halt all forms of racially inspired normalization within Israel.
“I would like to express appreciation to Marc Lamont Hill, who was fired by CNN after he declared support for Palestinians at a UN meeting,” he said. During the meeting, Hill said “free Palestine from the river to the sea.”
The so-called nation state bill declares “the right to exercise national self-determination” in Israel “unique to the Jewish people,” while also establishing Hebrew as Israel’s official language and downgrading Arabic to a “special status” language.
The bill also declares Jewish settlement a national value and says that the state “will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.”

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman says Kingdom is committed to serving Muslims

Updated 12 min 41 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman says Kingdom is committed to serving Muslims

  • Prince Khaled Al-Faisal gave a speech during the opening on the World Conference on Islamic Unity
  • Prince Khaled welcomed the participants at the conference and has delivered to them the greeting of the king

MAKKAH: Rejecting all forms of hatred and extremism, Muslim scholars from 127 countries have proposed to initiate an intercultural partnership to effectively fight Islamophobia.

More than 1,299 religious scholars and intellectuals took part in a conference titled “International Conference on Islamic unity — the perils of labeling and exclusion” held in Makkah on Wednesday.

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal inaugurated the event organized by the Muslim World League (MWL). 

The participants of the conference called for a comprehensive plan to address sectarianism and extremism.

They also stressed the need for creating effective channels of communication between followers of different Islamic schools of thought to remove misunderstandings and increase cooperation.

They unanimously rejected sectarian views and extremist ideas and urged scholars and preachers to play their role in uniting Muslims.

The Makkah governor delivered a speech on behalf of King Salman underlining the need to remove misconceptions about Islam and Muslims through dialogue. He also urged Muslims to set aside their petty differences and to work together to achieve a great and prosperous future.

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, who is also head of the MWL Supreme Council, highlighted the teachings of Islam that categorically reject all forms of discrimination. 

The grand mufti urged the Muslims to forge unity among their ranks and do away with rivalries, petty differences and say no to divisions and factionalism. 

Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, president of the Emirates Fatwa Council, stressed that unity is a great Islamic concept that includes all spheres of human existence and covers all individual, collective and international relations. Islam is a religion of unity, he added

Sheikh Bayyah said the difference of opinion should not be construed as enmity. 

He deplored the spirit of exclusion and rejecting and mistrusting others. He said a moderate approach is necessary to counter extremism and hatred. 

MWL Secretary-General Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa said the problems we are witnessing in today’s world emanate from a lack of open dialogue and futile rivalries between sects and denominations.

The secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, hailed Saudi Arabia’s successful experience against extremism, violence and terrorism. He said the steps Saudi Arabia has taken to counter this negative trend have transformed it into a reliable reference for everything related to Islam. 

He praised the efforts, bold steps and resolute policies carried out by the Kingdom to eradicate extremist ideas from society.