OIC Press Release
|15 August 2001|
In the wake of the Israeli seizures of Palestinian institutions in Al-Quds Al-Sharif, including “Orient House,” Dr. Abdelouahed Belkeziz, Secretary-General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), has embarked on intensive and wide ranging contacts and consultations to reach a common stance on action that ought to be taken to compel Israel to restore the Palestinian institutions in the Holy City to their owners, put an end to the successive Israeli aggressions against the unarmed Palestinian people and open the way for a resumption of the peace process.
The OIC Secretary-General thus contacted the Chair of the 9th Islamic Summit (the State of Qatar), President Yasser Arafat, Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa to evolve a common stand to foster the Palestinian stance as expressed by President Yasser Arafat in the latter’s messages to the heads of State and government, calling for “an end to the Israeli measures, the immediate start of implementation of the Mitchell recommendations and for providing international observers to follow-up and monitor the implementation.”
In that context, Dr. Belkeziz received a message from President Arafat on the recent developments in the city of Al-Quds and the areas under the Palestinian National Authority. In his message, the Palestinian President pointed to the grave impact of such a situation on the stability of the Middle East area and the necessity to place back the peace process on its normal track. President Arafat reaffirmed his “total commitment to all the agreements and ‘understandings’ reached, including those relating to security, latest among which was that of George Tennet.” Appended to President Arafat’s message was a copy of one written by Shimon Perez when he was minister of foreign affairs, affirming that the Israeli authorities recognized the fundamental missions carried out by “all the Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem,” hence the necessity to preserve and encourage them.
On the other hand, two representatives of the American and Russian consulates in Jeddah were received on the morning of August 12, 2001, at OIC headquarters where they were handed over a copy of the statement issued by the OIC Secretary-General on the issue of the recent Israeli assaults against Palestinian institutions in the Holy City. The statement comprised an urgent appeal to the United States and Russia, in their capacity as co-sponsors of the peace process, to spare no time in intervening to halt such attacks, ensure international protection to the Palestinian people and restore the earlier status of the Palestinian institutions in Al-Quds so that they may resume the role they played as agreed in the framework of the peace process.
In another development, the OIC Secretary-General sent a message to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, stressing the move, on the part of the Palestinian authorities, consisting in invading Orient House and eight (8) Palestinian institutions in the holy city of Al-Quds was tantamount to blatant denial and violation of the accords concluded by the Israeli authorities with the PNA, denying, at the same time, the Arab city of Al-Quds its special legal status which the Israelis approved, thirty five (35) years ago, dealt with and abided by.
Dr. Belkeziz noted that the Israeli measures created a new state of affairs, or conditions, and constituted a grave political transformation of the Holy City’s political status. For that reason, the international community may not turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to those acts. Rather, it was incumbent upon everybody to stand like one man to restore normalcy thereby averting unforeseen and incalculable consequences that may conduce the area to a cycle of violence, devastation and bloodshed, Dr. Belkeziz said.
The OIC Secretary-General underscored the fact that the United Nations, as represented by the UN Security Council was the world authority capable of reinstating right and justice. For this reason, he added, the Security Council was duty-bound to hold an extraordinary session to discuss the situation and adopt binding resolutions to annul the dangerous and illegitimate measures adopted by Israel.
Similarly, Dr. Belkeziz sent other messages to the secretaries-general of the League of Arab States, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), the Chair of the European Union (EU) as well as the foreign minister of Mali – current chairman of the 28th session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers (ICFM), highlighting the dangers inherent in the measures taken by Israel against Palestinian institutions in Al-Quds Al-Sharif and reviewing the efforts carried out by the Chair of the Islamic Summit along with the OIC general secretariat to obtain the convocation of an urgent meeting of the UN security council to deal with the situation by abolishing the grave arbitrary and coercive measures on the part of Israel and providing international protection to the Palestinian people so that the latter may not always be prone to suppression and persecution at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General is constantly in touch with President Yasser Arafat and a number of foreign ministers of OIC member states to crystallize a common stance that may accelerate the holding of the advocated Security Council meeting.