NEW YORK: The OIC Group at the United Nations has unanimously adopted a Pakistan-proposed statement that condemns Israel and reaffirms support for Palestinians, as fatal clashes in East Jerusalem escalate, and urges UN Security Council to address the ‘grave’ crisis that threatens world peace and security.
The statement “called for swift international action to address this crisis situation with the aim of bringing a halt to all of the flagrant violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and holding Israel, the occupying Power, accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people”.
Pakistan’s UN Ambassador Munir Akram proposed issuing the statement on Monday when the OIC envoys virtually met in New York to consider the situation arising from Israel’s aggressive actions against Palestinians at the Al-Aqsa compound and to demonstrate “unequivocal and strong” solidarity with Palestinians.
After its approval by member states of OIC, Niger’s UN Ambassador Abdou Abarry, in his capacity as Chairman of the OIC Group, sent the statement to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the General Assembly President, Volkan Bozkir of Turkey, and the Security Council President Zhang Jun of China for necessary action.
Tensions have soared over Israel’s planned eviction of Palestinians from a district in east Jerusalem, which the Jewish state claims as part of its eternal capital but is considered occupied by the United Nations.
Several nights of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police, particularly around the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, spiraled on Monday night into a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza and deadly Israeli air strikes in retaliation.
The sharp escalation has killed at least 32 Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip and three Israelis and wounded hundreds more.
In the statement, the OIC Group demanded an end to all of these violations and demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, respect the sanctity of the holy sites in the City and the historic and legal status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif.
The envoys stressed that Israel, as an occupying power, has no sovereignty rights whatsoever in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in East Jerusalem and at Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which remains under the sole and exclusive authority of Jerusalem’s Awqaf and Al-Aqsa Mosque Affairs administration.
The statement urged the Security Council to shoulder its responsibilities and to unify to overcome its paralysis on the longest-standing item on its agenda, and to act without delay to uphold its resolutions and ensure their full implementation.
“If the Security Council fails to uphold its responsibilities to address this crisis, the Group will call upon the General Assembly to rise up to its responsibilities,” the statement said.
The 193-member Assembly could hold a special session aimed at ensuring protection to the Palestinian people, and pursuing measures to hold Israel, accountable for its grave breaches of international law and human rights violations.
The OIC envoys expressed their determination to engage with all other countries and groups at the United Nations and with the Secretary-General to advance international action to urgently and effectively address the grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.
They reiterated also their readiness to engage in efforts to support the just cause of Palestine, promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination, and a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-State solution, with East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.