MARAKESH – Meeting in Morocco to discuss the problems of Islam’s third holiest city, Muslim countries have called on the international community to pressure Israel to stop illegal settlements’ construction in the occupied West Bank.
“The international community must... put pressure on Israel to stop the illegal and provocative settlement construction,” Al-Quds (Occupied Jerusalem) Committee said in a statement cited by Al-Jazeera on Sunday, January 19.
That “will create a favorable context for the pursuit of peace negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinians, and for relations between Israel, its Arab neighbors and the Muslim world, the statement, released at the end of the two-day meeting in Marrakesh, added.
Palestine in Focus
Al-Quds: The Olive City (Folder)
Al- Quds committee, formed by pan-Muslim Organization of Islamic Cooperation, issued the latest warning after Israel’s announcement of plans to build more 1,800 settler houses in occupied West Bank recently.
Launched last Friday, the OIC-formed panel was chaired by King Mohamed VI of Morocco under the title “a strong mobilization of our own means and resources... to defend the Holy City.”
In their joint statement, the Muslims countries have prompted the international community to pressure Israel to stop the expansion of the provocative settlements in the West Bank.
Al-Quds committee was established in 1975 to counter the seizure of the Palestinian land in Jerusalem.
Al-Quds is home to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which includes Islam's third holiest shrine Al-Aqsa Mosque, and represents the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israel occupied the holy city and the West Bank in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community or UN resolutions.
Al-Aqsa is the Muslims’ first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and it is the third holiest shrine after Al Ka`bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (Peace and Blessings be Upon Him).
During the meeting, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of exploiting peace talks to extend the settlements in the occupied land.
“There can be no peace without stability, nor agreement without occupied east Jerusalem being recognized as the capital of the Palestinian state,” Abbas said.
Not only Muslim countries.
Israeli's plans have sparked condemnation the US and the European countries, deeming it as illegal and unhelpful.
Britain, Italy, France and Spain have summoned Israeli ambassadors to show protest against the plans.
Responding to the reactions of the European countries, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman described the reactions as “unacceptable and gives rise to the feeling that they are only looking to place blame on Israel.”
Israel’s Justice Minister, Tzipi Livni, added, “The world does not understand the settlements.”
“The peace negotiations are the wall stopping the wave [of international boycott pressure],” Livni added in a Channel 2 TV news interview.
“If there is a crisis [in the talks, that wave] will crash through.”
There are more than 164 Jewish settlements in the West Bank, eating up more than 40 percent of the occupied West Bank.
The international community considers all settlements on the occupied land illegal.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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