Islamic summit declares East Jerusalem as Palestine’s capital

Istanbul: A summit of Islamic countries held in Istanbul on Wednesday declared East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

The summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) also invited all the countries to “recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital”, said the draft final communique unveiled at the conclusion of the one-day meeting.

The heads of states and governments present at the summit “reject and condemn in the strongest terms” the unilateral decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the communique was cited as saying by Efe news.

The OIC communique declared Trump’s move “null and void” and considered it an “attack” on the rights of the Palestinian people. It accused the US of “deliberately undermining” peace efforts and warned that it has given “impetus to extremism and terrorism”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier said the UN should take over. In a speech to the OIC summit, he said it would be “unacceptable” for the US to be the mediator “since it is biased in favour of Israel”.

The communique said Washington will be held “fully liable for all the consequences of not retracting from this illegal decision”.

The leaders at the summit asked the UN to assume its responsibilities and reaffirm the city’s legal position.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Trump’s Jerusalem decision a “threat to all humanity”.

“The US decision … means punishing Palestinians who have proven numerous times that they side with peace instead of violence,” he said.

Speaking at a meeting with his OIC counterparts prior to the summit, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu urged the member states to encourage other countries worldwide to recognize East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital on the basis of the 1967 borders.

“Palestine needs to be recognized by other countries,” he said.

The OIC is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the UN, with a membership of 57 states spread over four continents.

As Turkey holds the rotating chair of the group, Erdogan called for an extraordinary summit with a view to drawing up a roadmap for Muslim nations to follow as they oppose the US decision on Jerusalem.