Turkey mo­bi­lizes Mus­lim world into ac­tion for Pales­tini­ans bear­ing brunt of Is­rael’s vi­o­lence

To ad­dress the grow­ing cri­sis over Mon­day’s killing of scores of Pales­tini­ans, in­clud­ing an 8-month-old baby Laila al-Ghan­dour, by Is­raeli forces on the Gaza border, the OIC mem­bers will call on the Mus­lim world to take ac­tion against Is­rael dur­ing to­day’

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - MehMet Çelİk - IS­tAN­BUl *CON­TRIB­UTED BY ÖZGENUR SEVİNÇ FROM ANKARA

TURKEY, as the term pres­i­dent of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion (OIC), is ex­pected to call on the seem­ingly un­will­ing Mus­lim world to take con­crete ac­tion against the Is­raeli ag­gres­sion to­ward Pales­tini­ans in to­day’s emer­gency sum­mit. The sum­mit in Is­tan­bul is ex­pected to be at­tended by Pales­tinian Prime Min­is­ter Rami Ham­dal­lah, King Ab­dul­lah II of Jor­dan, Ira­nian Pres­i­dent Hasan Rouhani, Afghan Pres­i­dent Ashraf Ghani, Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ah­mad al-Jaber al-Sabah and Mau­ri­ta­nian Pres­i­dent Mo­hammed Veled Ab­du­laziz. The level of par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Arab world, mainly Gulf monar­chies, is not yet known, though the emer­gency meet­ing on Jerusalem in De­cem­ber last year was marked due to the very low level del­e­ga­tions by par­tic­i­pants. “The Arab lead­ers in the re­gion are mostly main­tain­ing their in­flu­ence in the re­gion with U.S. sup­port. When this is the case, it is not pos­si­ble for them to stand against U.S. poli­cies in the re­gion, even in a sit­u­a­tion as in the Pales­tinian is­sue,” said jour­nal­ist Oral Çalışlar, who is also a colum­nist for Posta daily. The con­tro­ver­sial de­ci­sion by U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Dec. 6 to re­lo­cate the U.S. Em­bassy in Is­rael from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had sparked in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism. The OIC had also con­vened then on Dec. 13 in an emer­gency meet­ing in Is­tan­bul where the lead­ers of the Mus­lim world de­clared the de­ci­sion “null and void.”

IN ad­di­tion, the OIC de­clared in a state­ment fol­low­ing the sum­mit that east Jerusalem was the cap­i­tal of Pales­tine “un­der oc­cu­pa­tion” and urged the U.S. to with­draw from the peace process and back down from its Jerusalem de­ci­sion.

How­ever, the lack of high-level par­tic­i­pa­tion in the De­cem­ber sum­mit was crit­i­cized at the time by Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan.

In an in­ter­view with Turk­ish press in Jan­uary, Er­doğan said the at­ten­dance level of Is­lamic coun­tries was sat­is­fac­tory, but too few of­fi­cials came from mem­bers of the Arab League.

“Some coun­tries could very well have sent higher level of­fi­cials to the OIC sum­mit in Is­tan­bul. It was up­set­ting to see some Arab League mem­bers just go­ing through the mo­tions con­cern­ing a sum­mit on Jerusalem.” He said over 50 coun­tries at­tended the sum­mit, with most send­ing par­lia­men­tary speak­ers, foreign min­is­ters and other se­nior of­fi­cials. “For ex­am­ple, Saudi Ara­bia sent its Is­lamic af­fairs min­is­ter. It is, of course, im­por­tant, but still, a more se­nior of­fi­cial could have been sent,” Er­doğan had said, voic­ing his crit­i­cism.

Arab lead­ers have been crit­i­cized by pun­dits for fail­ing to stand up for the rights of Mus­lims and in­stead co­op­er­at­ing with Is­rael and the U.S.

“How can you ex­pect the regime in Egypt, which came to power with U.S. sup­port, to re­ally stand against the U.S. de­ci­sion on Jerusalem?” Çalışlar asked.

Egypt an­nounced yes­ter­day that Egyptian Foreign Min­is­ter Sameh Shukry would par­tic­i­pate in to­day’s emer­gency sum­mit.

The U.S. re­lo­cated its em­bassy to Jerusalem on May 14, a day be­fore the 70th an­niver­sary of Is­rael’s es­tab­lish­ment in 1948, an event Pales­tini­ans re­fer to as the “Nakba,” or the “Catas­tro­phe.”

Thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans had gath­ered on Gaza Strip’s east­ern border early Mon­day morn­ing to take part in protests aimed to com­mem­o­rate the Nakba an­niver­sary and protest re­lo­cat­ing the U.S. em­bassy to Jerusalem. Most of the Pales­tini­ans killed on Mon­day were shot by Is­raeli snipers, Gaza’s Health Min­istry said. More than 2,200 Pales­tini­ans were also in­jured by gun­fire or tear gas.

Among the in­dis­crim­i­nately killed 62 Pales­tini­ans was also an 8-month-old baby who died from tear gas in­hala­tion along with eight chil­dren un­der the age of 16. At the Gaza hos­pi­tal where the body of 8-month-old Laila al-Ghan­dour was be­ing pre­pared for burial, her grand­mother was quoted by Reuters say­ing the child was at one of the tented protest en­camp­ments. “We were at the tent camp east of Gaza when the Is­raelis fired lots of tear gas,” Heyam Omar quoted by Reuters as say­ing.

“Sud­denly my son screamed at me that Lolo was cry­ing and scream­ing. I took her fur­ther away. When we got back home, the baby stopped cry­ing and I thought she was asleep. I took her to the chil­dren’s hos­pi­tal and the doc­tor told me she was mar­tyred [killed].”

Cul­ture and Tourism Min­is­ter Nu­man Kur­tul­muş voiced his crit­i­cism yes­ter­day about the lack of con­crete ac­tion by the Mus­lim world, say­ing Mus­lim coun­tries have not ful­filled their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties on Pales­tine. He said de­spite the fact that awareness for the Pales­tinian cause has in­creased among Mus­lim peo­ple, most of the gov­ern­ments of Is­lamic coun­tries are re­frain­ing from tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity on the is­sue.

Turk­ish Pres­i­den­tial Spokesman İbrahim Kalın said the OIC sum­mit will fo­cus on mo­bi­liz­ing the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to bring an end to the op­pres­sion of Pales­tini­ans.

In a writ­ten state­ment re­leased yes­ter­day, Kalın said the oc­cu­pa­tion of Is­rael and the Pales­tinian is­sue are not prob­lems for the Mus­lim coun­tries alone but “com­mon prob­lems for ev­ery­one who be­lieve in law and jus­tice.”

“The sum­mit will fo­cus on the at­ti­tudes and ac­tions to be taken by Mus­lim coun­tries in sol­i­dar­ity and co­op­er­a­tion with the Pales­tinian State and its peo­ple in or­der to de­fend the causes of Pales­tine and Jerusalem,” Kalın added.

Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yıldırım also in­vited his three coun­ter­parts from Libya, Nige­ria and Iraq to the emer­gency sum­mit, ac­cord­ing to prime min­is­te­rial sources on yes­ter­day.

Yıldırım phoned Libya’s Fayez al-Sar­raj, Niger Prime Min­is­ter Brigi Rafini and his Iraqi coun­ter­part Haider al-Abadi to in­vite them to the emer­gency OIC sum­mit, sources from the Prime Min­istry con­firmed.

On Tues­day, Yıldırım in­vited Bangladesh’s Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Morocco’s Saaded­dine Oth­mani, Pak­istan’s Shahid Khaqan Ab­basi, Ab­dul­lah bin Nasır es-Sani from Qatar and Al­ge­ria’s Ahmed Ouyahia, who are all pre­miers, to join the sum­mit meet­ing.

Af­ter the OIC meet­ing to­day, a large rally will take place in Is­tan­bul to protest Is­rael’s treat­ment of and re­cent killing of Pales­tini­ans.


Çalışlar added that the Pales­tinian is­sue is not only iso­lated to the Mus­lim com­mu­nity. “The fun­da­men­tal right of Pales­tini­ans to de­cide their own fu­ture should be a con­cern for the whole in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity,” he added.

“The world has wit­nessed a mas­sacre against Pales­tini­ans which in­di­cates the fail­ure of the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem and its in­sti­tu­tions,” Yaşar Hacısal­i­hoğlu, a pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal science and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions and the rec­tor of Yeniyüzyıl Univer­sity, also told Daily Sabah. He added that the day the U.S. opened its em­bassy will be re­mem­bered as a day Is­rael in­dis­crim­i­nately mas­sa­cred Pales­tinian peo­ple.

Turkey also an­nounced three days of na­tional mourn­ing and re­called its am­bas­sadors to Is­rael and the United States over the vi­o­lence. In ad­di­tion, the rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AK Party), the main op­po­si­tion Re­pub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party (CHP) and the Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP) signed a joint dec­la­ra­tion con­demn­ing Is­rael’s ac­tions and an­nounc­ing sol­i­dar­ity with Pales­tini­ans fol­low­ing a spe­cial ses­sion in Par­lia­ment Tues­day.

Talha Köse, an aca­demic from İbn Hal­dun Univer­sity, stated that “Is­rael has been ig­nor­ing in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism and get­ting away with its steps at the end of the day.”

Trump’s con­tro­ver­sial Jerusalem de­ci­sion was also chal­lenged in the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil af­ter a draft res­o­lu­tion on the is­sue was ve­toed 14-to-1, sin­gling out the White House on the de­ci­sion. Fol­low­ing the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil’s move, Turkey and Ye­men had also brought the is­sue to the U.N. Gen­eral Assem­bly in a draft res­o­lu­tion, which was passed by 128 for, nine against and 35 ab­sten­tions.

Af­ter pro­pose a draft to U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on Tues­day, Kuwaiti Am­bas­sador to U.N. Man­sour Al-Otaibi said that as an oc­cu­py­ing power Is­rael was re­quired un­der the Geneva Con­ven­tion to pro­vide pro­tec­tion for Pales­tinian civil­ians but they failed to do that so this is why they want the coun­cil to do some­thing about that.

The mother of a Leila al-Ghan­dour (C), a Pales­tinian baby of 8 months who died of tear gas in­hala­tion dur­ing Is­rael’s at­tack in East Gaza on May 14, holds her at the morgue of al-Shifa hos­pi­tal in Gaza City on May 15.

Pales­tinian medics and pro­test­ers evac­u­ate a wounded young man dur­ing a protest at the Gaza Strip’s border with Is­rael, east of Khan You­nis, May 14.

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