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No normalization with Israel until Palestine establishes viable state: OIC

Palestinians take part in a protest against the United Arab Emirates’ deal with Israel to normalize relations, in Gaza City August 19, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) says its member states would not follow the United Arab Emirates in normalizing ties with Israel until the regime ends the occupation of Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem al-Quds, which Palestine wants as the capital of its sovereign state.

In a statement issued on Monday, OIC Secretary General Yusuf bin Ahmed al-Uthaymeen highlighted the issue of Palestine and Israeli-occupied Jerusalem al-Quds as the organization’s raison d’être and pivotal cause.

“It is at the heart of the OIC’s joint Islamic action and the main consensus of all Member States, which all endeavor to end the Israeli occupation and help the Palestinian people realize their legitimate rights,” he said.

He further pointed to the so-called Arab Peace Initiative as “a strategic choice, a historic opportunity, and a common reference on which a peaceful, just and comprehensive solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict must be based.”

The Initiative calls on Israel to agree to a “two-state solution” along the 1967 borders and a “just” solution to the Palestinian refugee issue.

“The OIC supports all efforts exerted to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their inalienable national rights, including the right of return, self-determination, and the establishment of their independent and sovereign state on the borders of June 4, 1967,” he said.

He further censured unilateral Israeli measures to annex Palestinian territories and build settlements on occupied land, saying the illegal moves undermine the so-called two-state solution.

The OIC chief said normalization “will never take place until after the end of the Israeli occupation of the Arab and Palestinian lands occupied since 1967, including al-Quds, and the establishment of the viable Palestinian State with East al-Quds as its capital.”

On August 13, the UAE and the Israeli regime reached the deal for a full normalization of their relations. The deal was apparently brokered by US President Donald Trump.

The intended normalization has angered Muslim nations and supporters of the Palestinian cause against Israel’s occupation.

Palestinian leaders have described the Emirates’ deal with Israel as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and a “stab in the back” of the Palestinian people.

The Emirati officials have described the peace deal as a step toward helping Palestinian statehood by halting annexation plans. Palestine, however, rejects that claim, saying normalization attempts had been in the offing for a long time.

British FM to visit Israeli, Palestinian officials

Meanwhile, Britain’s Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is due to visit Israel and the occupied West Bank on Tuesday for meetings with top Israeli and Palestinian officials to reportedly express London’s opposition to any future Israeli annexation in the West Bank.

According to a statement by the British embassy in Israel, he would “press for renewed dialogue” between the sides.

He is slated to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, minister of military affairs Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

In Ramallah, he is scheduled to sit down with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

“Israel’s suspension of annexation is an important step towards a more peaceful Middle East,” Raab said in a statement released by his office.

He was referring to Netanyahu’s agreement to suspend his plan to annex some 30 percent of the West Bank, including all the settlements and the Jordan Valley, as one of the conditions of the August 13 normalization deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

“It is now time for both sides to come together and engage in the dialogue that’s needed to deliver the negotiated two-state solution that can secure lasting peace, security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Raab said.

On his visit to Ramallah, Raab “will reaffirm UK opposition to annexation — which is illegal under international law,” and “call on the Palestinians to resume cooperation with Israel and pursue direct negotiations, as a step towards a negotiated two-state solution and a viable, sovereign Palestinian state," according to the press release.

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