The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has affirmed Palestine’s right to sovereignty over al-Quds, home to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, calling on the international community to force Israel to end its violations in the occupied city.
In a final communiqué issued on Wednesday after an extraordinary meeting in the Saudi city of Jeddah, the 57-member intergovernmental organization reiterated that the Israeli regime has no sovereignty over al-Quds and its Islamic and Christian holy sites.
The meeting followed a provocative incursion by Israel’s far-right security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir into the al-Aqsa Mosque complex and continued attacks by the occupation forces on the Palestinians in al-Quds.
“The Israeli minister’s storming of the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque and violating its sanctity is a provocative step that is condemned in the strongest terms and represents a flagrant and unacceptable violation of international law and the existing historical and legal status in al-Quds and its holy sites,” the OIC said.
“It is a dangerous escalation that requires the international community, including the Security Council, to work immediately to stop it through effective steps that would compel Israel, the occupying power, to stop its attacks on the Palestinian people and its violations of international law and international humanitarian law.”
The Executive Committee of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (#OIC), in its #extraordinary Meeting on the Attacks against #AlAqsa , held on Wednesday, 24th May 2023, at the headquarters of the OIC General Secretariat in Jeddah. pic.twitter.com/7tpXBOz2aq— OIC (@OIC_OCI) May 24, 2023
It further emphasized that the al-Aqsa Mosque is a place of worship for Muslims, and that the Jordanian Islamic Waqf is the legal authority in charge of its affairs.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is managed by the Waqf as part of a long-standing agreement under which only Muslims are allowed to pray at the site. Non-Muslim visitors are allowed visits at certain times and only to certain areas.
Also in its communiqué, the OIC said it “affirms the right of the State of Palestine to sovereignty over the occupied city of East Jerusalem (al-Quds), and that Israel, the occupying power, has no right nor sovereignty over the occupied city of al-Quds and its Islamic and Christian holy sites.”
In another provocative move on Sunday, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a weekly cabinet meeting in a tunnel underneath the al-Aqsa Mosque.
The OIC denounced the move, saying “such provocative and illegal actions are null and void and have no legal effect.”
It also highlighted the importance of concerted efforts by OIC member states to protect the al-Aqsa Mosque and support the steadfastness of the Palestinian citizens of al-Quds in the face of aggressive Israeli policies aimed at controlling the city, changing its original Arab identity as well as its existing historical and legal status.
Meanwhile, the organization urged the international community “to put pressure on Israel … to stop [its] violations, including settlement expansion and all measures aimed at changing the legal and historical status quo in the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, which would push the situation in the region to further deterioration.”
Efforts, it added, should be activated towards lasting peace and the so-called two-state solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with East al-Quds as its capital.