Political leaders and heads of state from Islamic nations have condemned countries that have made the “illegal and irresponsible decision” to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
In a joint statement on Saturday, at the end of a summit of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the leaders called on countries that have moved their embassies to Jerusalem to rethink their strategy which they said constituted “a serious violation of international law and international legitimacy”.
The OIC urged member countries to take “appropriate measures” against countries that move their embassies to Jerusalem.
US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, breaking with decades of established protocol, and in May 2018 transferred the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Guatemala followed suit soon afterwards.
“The Palestinian people have the right to achieve their inalienable national rights, including their right to self-determination and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian State,” the final statement said.
Jerusalem is claimed by both Israelis and Palestinians as their capital and the move by the United States was roundly condemned by Palestinians who said the US could no longer portray itself as a neutral mediator between the two sides.
The OIC’s statement comes as Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner prepares to roll out economic aspects of his long-awaited Middle East peace plan at a conference in Bahrain later this month.
The plan, dubbed the “deal of the century”, has already been rejected by the Palestinians, who say Trump’s policies have shown him to be blatantly biased in favour of Israel.
Kushner, who was in Jerusalem on Friday on the latest leg of a regional tour to sell the plan, had looked to an alliance with Saudi Arabia against Iran as a way to gain Arab support.
But Saudi King Mohammed bin Salman told leaders of the IOC countries gathered at the summit: “The Palestinian cause is the cornerstone of the works of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and is the focus of our attention until the brotherly Palestinian people get all their legitimate rights.
“We reaffirm our unequivocal rejection of any measures that would prejudice the historical and legal status of Quds [Jerusalem].”
The meeting was the third international summit to be held in Saudi Arabia since Thursday.