OIC must counter Israel’s occupation, expansionism: Iran FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) must never deviate from its main goal, which is to oppose the Israeli regime’s occupation and expansionist policies.
“We should not allow anything or anyone to divert this organization’s main goal, which is to promote the Muslim Ummah’s unity, counter Zionist expansionism and occupation, and support the establishment of an independent and sustainable Palestinian state with al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital,” Zarif said in an address to an OIC extraordinary meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday.
“We should not allow Zionists to set our agenda or create new issues in order to get away with the crimes they have perpetrated against all of us,” the Iranian foreign minister added.
It is imperative for the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council, to put an end to the culture of impunity for the Israeli regime and compel it to stop its criminal plans and practices, Zarif stated.
The top Iranian diplomat condemned the Israeli regime’s acts of aggression, which are aimed at altering the historic status of Jerusalem al-Quds, changing its demography, and gaining control of the holy Islamic sites in the heart of the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.
“The existing situation has resulted from the deplorable illegal occupation of Palestinian territories and repeated violation of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people,” Zarif said.
He emphasized that leaders of Muslim countries should not ignore conditions of two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip who are under an illegal blockade and subjected to collective punishment and are deprived of their basic and vital needs such as medicine, clean water and energy.
The Iranian foreign minister then described the siege of Gaza as a “humanitarian nightmare,” which requires swift action.
“The Israeli regime is still ignoring all international requests to stop and change its racist policies and measures against the Palestinian people,” Zarif said.
The Iranian foreign minister arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday to attend the extraordinary meeting of the OIC amid heightened Israeli aggression against Palestinians.
Speaking upon his arrival, Zarif said Israel was the “main threat” to the Muslim world and warned that the regime was trying to Judaize the occupied Palestinian territories.
“The Zionist regime is the main threat to the Islamic world,” which is fueling other threats to the region such as terrorism and extremism, he said.
In a press release on its website, the OIC said the Istanbul meeting was aimed at sending “a unified message to the international community by the Muslim World, demanding it to commit Israel, the occupying power, to respect the Geneva Conventions and all resolutions on the Palestinian issue, especially al-Quds al-Sharif, which is an integral part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.”
Tensions have recently escalated in the West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds between the Israeli forces and the Palestinians after the Tel Aviv regime imposed restrictions on the al-Aqsa Mosque.
Muslims refused to hold prayers at the mosque and prayed on the streets around the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds for almost two weeks after Israel installed security equipment, including metal detectors and cameras, at the sacred compound following a deadly shooting incident there on July 14. Israel’s recent restrictive measures have drawn widespread international condemnations.
The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.
The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flash point, which is also holy to Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.