OIC foreign ministers reject Netanyahu annexation pledge

OIC foreign ministers reject Netanyahu annexation pledge
The Israeli PM announced his plans to annex the Jordan Valley on Sept. 8. (File/AFP)
Updated 15 September 2019

OIC foreign ministers reject Netanyahu annexation pledge

OIC foreign ministers reject Netanyahu annexation pledge
  • Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki warns dispute with Israel is now religious conflict
  • Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Al-Assaf calls on international community to shoulder its responsibilities

JEDDAH: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday expressed its “total rejection” of the Israeli prime minister’s pre-election pledge to annex part of the West Bank, Saudi state media said.
Battling to win re-election in polls on Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu made a deeply controversial promise last week to annex the strategic Jordan Valley, which accounts for around a third of the occupied West Bank.
He also repeated his intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank, but in coordination with US President Donald Trump.
After an emergency foreign ministers’ meeting in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, the OIC expressed “its total rejection and strong condemnation of the Israeli Prime Minister’s declaration.”
“This dangerous declaration... deliberately undermines international efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace... and pushes the whole region toward further violence and instability,” the 57-member pan-Islamic body added in a statement carried by Saudi state media.
The emergency meeting of OIC foreign ministers was called at the request of Saudi Arabia, which has unilaterally condemned Netanyahu’s pledge as a “dangerous escalation.”
The multilateral statement comes as Netanyahu’s government on Sunday approved a new settlement in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli cabinet agreed to turn the wildcat settlement of Mevoot Yericho in the Jordan Valley into an official settlement, the premier’s office said.
Netanyahu’s moves could essentially destroy any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
His pledge to annex the Jordan valley has drawn firm condemnation from the Palestinians, the United Nations, the European Union the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Arab states.
Speaking at an emergency meeting in Jeddah, the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Al-Assaf called on the international community to “shoulder its responsibilities’ regarding the “ongoing Israeli violations against the Palestinian people.”
“We condemn the dangerous escalation by the Israeli Prime Minister,” Al-Assaf added.         
And he said that any announcements or actions on the matter by Israel were “null and void.”
“We condemn Israel’s continued attempt to change the historical identity of Palestine,” OIC Secretary General, Yousef Al-Othaimeen told the emergency meeting on Sunday.
And he added: “We call on the international community to put an end to Israel’s aggressive policies against the Palestinian people.”
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki warned the meeting that the dispute with Israel had become a religious conflict because of its violations.
And he described the announcement regarding the Jordan Valley as a “serious threat.”
“Netanyahu’s announcement of its intention to include the Jordan Valley undermines international agreements and resolutions,” Al-Maliki added.


Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups

Updated 02 December 2020

Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups

Swedish-Iranian scientist may face imminent execution, say rights groups
  • Djalali was arrested in Iran in 2016 and later convicted of espionage
  • Iran's Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the death sentence

DUBAI: Swedish-Iranian scientist Ahmadreza Djalali, sentenced to death in Iran on espionage charges, may face imminent execution, rights groups said on Tuesday.
"On 1 December, a judge said Ahmadreza was to be transferred to Rajai Shahr prison TODAY to proceed with his imminent execution," Amnesty International said on Twitter.
"His lawyer was informed that Ahmadreza would be transferred to Rajai Shahr Prison ... today (Tuesday, Dec. 1)," Iran Human Rights said in a statement, quoting his wife Vida Mehrannia.
There was no official Iranian reaction to the reports.
Sweden's foreign minister said last week she had spoken to her Iranian counterpart after reports Iran may soon carry out Djalali's death sentence.
Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer at the Karolinska Institute in the Swedish capital Stockholm, was arrested in Iran in 2016 and later convicted of espionage, having been accused of providing information to Israel to help it assassinate several senior nuclear scientists. Iran's Supreme Court in 2017 upheld the death sentence.
Rights activists have accused Iran of arresting a number of dual nationals to try to win concessions from other countries. Tehran has regularly dismissed the accusation. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Alex Richardson)