Siraj Wahab | Arab News
Published — Sunday 4 January 2009
Last Update 4 January 2009 3:00 am
JEDDAH: Foreign ministers of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed disappointment at the silence of the international community and the inaction of the United Nations concerning the ongoing bloodbath in Gaza.
At an extraordinary meeting at the OIC headquarters here yesterday, the ministers and representatives of the organization’s 57-member states paid tribute to the resilience of the Palestinian people in the face of an unjust and uneven war and voiced complete support for their right to self-determination and an independent state. They described the Israeli attack as a blatant violation of international law.
“Israel is committing crimes against humanity and (we) should aim to bring them to international justice,” the ministers said in their final communiqué.
The ministers demanded that the UN Security Council fulfill its responsibility in maintaining international peace and security. “There should be an immediate and unconditional cease-fire,” said the communiqué.
The ministers called for the stationing of an international monitoring mission in the Gaza Strip, preferably under the UN umbrella, in order to de-escalate the conflict and stabilize the situation. They requested the group of OIC ambassadors in Geneva to finalize its efforts to convene an emergency session of the Human Rights Council on the violation of human rights caused by the Israeli war on Palestinians.
The foreign ministers called on the Palestinian factions to shun their differences. “End the state of division and immediately resume national dialogue to ensure unity in your ranks,” said the ministers addressing Fatah and Hamas leaders jointly.
They underlined the need for extending support to the Palestinian National Authority and its legitimate institutions and to assist it in rebuilding what was destroyed by the occupation forces. In what has been described as a significant step, the ministers adopted the idea of convening a donors’ conference with a view to rebuilding Gaza. The ministers decided to undertake the necessary efforts in coordination with the Arab League and other international and regional organizations for the immediate convening of the UN Security Council in order to adopt a resolution compelling Israel to stop its aggression at once, to lift the embargo and to provide international protection for the Palestinian people.
In his address, OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu expressed “total dismay” at what he described as the Islamic world’s mysterious paradox. “On the one hand, it has great capabilities that empower it to act and defend its interests ... on the other, it is agonizing that the material capabilities ... are not translated into concrete action and reality on the ground.”
He said he was at a loss for words at the tragedy in the Gaza Strip. “It is without any doubt a violation of all human values and a blatant infringement on human life and the right to life guaranteed by all laws. We cannot stand idle in the face of these unprecedented atrocities in modern history.”
Condemning Israel in the strongest possible words, Ihsanoglu said: “This aggression has killed hundreds of innocent civilians, including women, children, and the elderly; it has injured thousands of people and caused incalculable damage and destruction.”
He called upon the organization’s members — Turkey, Libya, Uganda and Burkina Faso — who are part of the UN Security Council, “to make every sincere effort in order to get the Security Council to adopt an urgent and binding resolution with the aim of putting an end to the Israeli aggression and enforcing an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire.”
Addressing the warring Palestinian factions, he said: “All should act toward ending the state of disunity that allows enemies to utilize these differences to further their own goals and objectives. I, therefore, appeal to all Palestinian parties and factions with their different views and opinions, to rise beyond narrow considerations and to launch without delay a serious national dialogue.”
The secretary-general expressed confidence that the Ummah, “which managed in the darkest chapters of its history to come up with solutions to the most difficult of crises, will be able to wade its way out of the current crisis with dignity and honor.”