As deadly unrest grows, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has condemned Israel and reaffirmed its support for Palestinians.
The OIC, headquartered in the Saudi city of Jeddah, “condemns in the strongest terms the repeated attacks by the Israeli occupation authorities against the Palestinian people” according to a statement released after an emergency session on Tuesday.
It also denounced “Israeli occupation forces’ continuation of colonial programmes– building settlements, attempting to confiscate Palestinian properties, forceful eviction of Palestinians from their land”.
Tensions have risen over Israel’s proposed evacuation of Palestinians from an east Jerusalem neighbourhood that the Jewish state regards as part of its everlasting capital but that the UN considers occupied.
Several nights of clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli police, especially near the Al-Aqsa mosque complex, turned into a torrent of rocket fire from Gaza and deadly Israeli air strikes in response on Monday night.
Since Monday, more than 600 rockets have been launched from Gaza into Israel, many by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad party, according to Israel’s army.
At least 32 innocent Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed in the blockaded Gaza Strip, with hundreds more injured.
Following Saudi Arabia’s heavy criticism of Israel for what it termed “blatant attacks carried out by the Israeli occupation forces against the sanctity of Al-Aqsa mosque” the OIC issued a response.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan spoke with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in Mecca on Tuesday, as Ankara tries to mend fences after the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.
Cavusoglu said the talks also included the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and that plans were in the works to convene an OIC foreign ministers conference after the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr.