The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an emergency summit called by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Tuesday.
The meeting produced a resolution calling for the United States to rescind its formal recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and vaguely threatened “political and economic restrictions” against countries, presumably including the U.S., which defy the OIC’s demands.
“In its Final Communiqué, the Summit held the U.S. administration fully responsible for any repercussions of it refusing to disavow this unlawful decision, taking it as a clear desertion by the U.S. administration of its role as peace broker. The Summit also dismissed the decision as a gift to Israel for its continuous renouncement of agreements and blatant breach to international legitimacy,” said the OIC.
OIC Secretary-General Yousef al-Othaimeen saluted “the cause of Palestine and al-Quds for the entire Muslim Ummah” and denounced President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as a “downright aggression on the city’s sacrosanct identity and Arab character.” Al-Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem; the “Ummah” is the collective body of all Muslims worldwide.
Othaimeen said the OIC “uncompromisingly rejects the US move as an act which constitutes a clear violation of international law, deals a heavy blow to international relations and runs counter to the spirit of the U.N. Charter and relevant U.N. resolutions.”
“The OIC calls again on those states that have not as yet recognized the State of Palestine to do so promptly such as to consolidate the foundations of the Two-State solution, for justice and international legitimacy to prevail,” he said.
“I invite countries that claim international law and equity to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian state under occupation,” Turkish President Erdogan said at the summit. “It is a must for countries that have not yet recognized the Palestinian state to take this important step, to maintain a balance that will ensure good sense and justice in the region.”
Erdogan called Israel a “state of terror” and claimed it was the only country in the world that would accept Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as its capital.
“Anyone who walks a few minutes in the streets of Jerusalem will recognize this city is under occupation,” he said.
Reporting on Erdogan’s remarks, Al-Jazeera correspondent Mohammed Adow said the Turkish president faced a “daunting task” in his quest to “unite the Muslim world.”
“In the hall that he was addressing, there were countries who are not willing to go beyond rhetoric opposition at the expense of sacrificing their relationship with the United States,” said Adow. Strangely enough, that is precisely the taunt Turkey and Iran have been leveling at Muslim countries slow to promise concrete action against the United States.
Voice of America quotes Turkish analysts who say the close relationships Egypt and Saudi Arabia have with the United States is an obstacle to achieving a united Muslim response on Jerusalem, particularly Saudi Arabia’s desire to distance itself from Turkey and perhaps cultivate a better relationship with Israel and the United States.
The Saudi government has officially criticized Trump’s action on Jerusalem, but VOA notes that neither King Salman nor Crown Prince Mohammed attended the OIC summit. This sent Turkey’s regime-friendly media on a tear against the Saudis, unleashing a swarm of editorials accusing them—perhaps accurately—of tacitly supporting Trump and Israel. One can only hope the Saudi Minister of Religious Affairs has a thick enough skin to handle Turkish media treating him as a booby prize sent to the OIC meeting as a gesture of tepid interest by the monarchy.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas naturally served up the reddest of rhetorical meat at the summit, as summarized by Voice of America:
Some of the sharpest criticism came from Abbas, who told leaders on Wednesday that Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State was—in his words—”a crime.”
He said the Palestinians would not accept a U.S. role in the peace process from now on and accused the United States of being biased in favor of Israel.
The Palestinian leader said, “We are here today to say together and in clear language: Jerusalem was, still is and will always be the capital of the State of Palestine.” Abbas called for the United Nations to take over the peace process.
As usual, Western media chose not to report the most incendiary things the Palestinian representative said at the meeting. Jerusalem Post writer Seth Frantzman stepped forward to fill the gap in coverage at the Terra Incognita blog:
“I don’t want to discuss religion or history because they are really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history,” Abbas said. “But if we read the Torah it says that the Canaanites were there before the time of our prophet Abraham and their [Canaanite] existence continued since that time, this is in the Torah itself.”
Then his speech took an anti-Jewish tone. “But if they would like to fake this history, they are really masters in this and it is mentioned in the holy Quran they fabricate truth and they try to do that and they believe in that but we have been there in this location for thousands of years.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, hailed as a “moderate” visionary by the Obama administration, was no slouch in the Israel-bashing department. “The Zionists are the foreigners in the Middle East, and they’ve planted the seeds of violence in the region. The U.S. is only looking out for the Zionist interests,” he declared at the summit. He denounced Israel’s nuclear arsenal as a “danger to the world.”
“If Muslims maintain their unity and their dignity, this could be a great victory for Muslims and for the region,” Rouhani said of the Jerusalem controversy. He predicted the Palestinians would soon “return to their homeland and regain their rights,” making Jerusalem “the capital of Palestine.”
Even President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, amusingly described by Turkey’s Daily Sabah as a “surprising attendee” at the meeting, chimed in. He said he was in Istanbul to “evaluate everything that has to do with the solidarity for the Arab people of Palestine,” who are facing the “aggression of the imperialist government” of the United States.