A Saudi-hosted Islamic summit yesterday threw its support behind Palestinians ahead of a US-led peace plan suspected to be skewed in favour of Israel, as Muslim states rallied around Saudi Arabia over tensions with Iran.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting, the third and final Iran-focused summit in the holy city of Makkah this week, denounced controversial US moves to transfer its embassy to Jerusalem and recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
The summit of the 57-member bloc, marked by the notable absence of Iranian and Turkish leaders, called for a “boycott” of countries that have opened diplomatic missions in the city.
Trump broke with decades of bipartisan policy to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December 2017.
The OIC’s statement comes as Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner prepares to roll out economic aspects of his long-awaited Middle East peace plan at a conference in Bahrain later this month.
The plan, which has been heavily talked up by Trump and dubbed his “deal of the century”, has already been rejected by the Palestinians, who say the president’s policies have shown him to be overwhelmingly biased in favour of Israel. The Palestinians see the eastern part of the disputed city as the capital of their future state.
Saudi King Salman told leaders of the OIC countries gathered at the summit: “The Palestinian cause is the cornerstone of the works of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and is the focus of our attention until the brotherly Palestinian people get all their legitimate rights.
“We reaffirm our unequivocal rejection of any measures that would prejudice the historical and legal status of Quds (Jerusalem).”
OIC summit condemned the inhumane situation of Rohingya Muslims, urging a halt to violence. The summit in Mecca also stressed that Myanmar’s government has the responsibility to protect its citizens, the statement added.
The OIC also backed Saudi Arabia in escalating tensions with Iran, as King Salman warned that “terrorist” attacks in the Gulf region could imperil global energy supplies.
Meanwhile, the head of the Lebanese Shia movement Hezbollah warned on that if there was a war against Iran the whole Middle East region would “erupt”, amid escalating US-Iranian tensions.