Al-Assaf: Saudi Arabia rejects new Israeli measures

Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf chairs the 16th extraordinary meeting of the OIC Countries in Jeddah on Sunday. — SPA

JEDDAH — Foreign Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said at the 16th extraordinary meeting of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers here on Sunday that the new Israeli measures are invalid and everything resulting from them is rejected by the Kingdom.

The meeting was called by the OIC Secretariat, at the request of Saudi Arabia as chair of the 14th Islamic Summit, following Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledge to annex West Bank territories if re-elected.

Al-Assaf also condemned the “dangerous escalation” by Netanyahu, calling for the international community to hold Israel accountable for its violations against the Palestinian people.

Al-Assaf affirmed that the Palestinian cause was and is still the core issue of the Islamic world, asserting that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will not hesitate or lag behind in supporting the Palestinian people with all means in order to restore their legitimate rights with establishing a Palestinian State with borders of 1967 and East Al-Quds as its capital.

"The Israeli Prime Minister's declaration is wrong and rejected," the minister said, adding that the Palestinian cause is Muslims' No. 1 cause. "It is on top of our organization's priorities. It is the first cause for this country and of top priority in its foreign policy," he stated.

Al-Assaf said: “Our meeting today is a continuation of our constant and permanent stand toward this important and central cause at a time when Israel is violating the Palestinian people’s rights by its prime minister declaring his intention to impose Israeli sovereignty on all the regions of the Jordan Valley, the Northern Dead Sea, and the settlements in the West Bank, if he is re-elected.

“This is a blatant challenge against international norms, laws, treaties, agreements and resolutions and without any consideration for the rights of the Palestinian people.”

Al-Assaf said: “This is a serious escalation that threatens all the efforts exerted and the initiatives presented to establish long lasting and just peace. It is pushing the region towards violence and the return to conflicts and an end to the two-state solution.

“The Kingdom affirms that the Arab and Muslim worlds’ preoccupation with many local and regional crises will not affect the status of the Palestinian cause in the Arab and Muslim world.

“This will not prevent us whatsoever from rejecting unilateral measures taken by Israel and its continuous attempts to change the historic and geographical facts and violate the legitimate Palestinian rights.”

For his part, Foreign Affairs Minister of the Palestinian National Authority Riyad Al-Maliki said that the Palestinian Authority’s leadership appreciates Saudi Arabia’s quick reaction in condemning the Israeli stance.

Al-Maliki added that Netanyahu’s pledge to annex the West Bank’s Jordan Valley goes against international agreements and resolutions, stating that it is a continuation of Israel’s attempts to “forge the geography and history of Palestine.”

“The Israeli violations against the Palestinian people are happening with an American approval,” Al-Maliki said.

Pakistan Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said that the unilateral announcement, in violation of the relevant UNSC resolutions and principles of international law, is a dangerous trend and threat to international peace and security.

He also expressed that it will further complicate the already tense situation and destabilize the region. He appealed to the OIC members, United Nations and the international community to revive their obligation towards the people of Palestine and Al Quds Al Sharif.

He added that the UN and the OIC members should condemn such irresponsible announcements being used as party slogans in