OIC wakes up, condemns Israel days after violence flared

By: AFP      Published: 12:33 PM, 12 May, 2021
Israeli aggression
Representative image.

Days after dozens of Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation has condemned Israel and reiterated support for Palestinians, as fatal unrest escalates.

The OIC "condemns in the strongest terms the repeated attacks by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people", the pan-Islamic body based in the Saudi city of Jeddah said in a statement on Tuesday after an emergency session.

It also condemned "the Israeli occupation forces' continuation of their colonial programmes -- building settlements, attempting to confiscate Palestinian properties, forceful eviction of Palestinians from their land".

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Tensions have soared over Israel's planned eviction of Palestinians from a district in east Jerusalem, which the Jewish state sees 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, spiralled on Monday night into a barrage of rocket fire from Gaza and deadly Israeli airstrikes in retaliation.

Israel's army said more than 600 rockets had been fired since Monday from Gaza towards Israel mainly by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group. 

The sharp escalation has killed at least 32 Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip and three Israelis and wounded hundreds more.

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The OIC's statement follows strong condemnation of Israel by Saudi Arabia over what it called "blatant attacks carried out by the Israeli occupation forces against the sanctity of Al-Aqsa mosque".

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan held talks in the holy city of Makkah with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday, as Ankara seeks to repair relations following the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

The talks also focused on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Cavusoglu said, adding that efforts were underway to organise a meeting of OIC foreign ministers after the upcoming Muslim festival of Eidul Fitr.