DR. ANWAR GARGASH: “Jerusalem is not only a city, but it is the cradle of civilisations and religions, it has the Al Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two Qiblas and the Third Holy Mosque, and is the place of the nocturnal journey of our Prophet, peace be upon him. No love matches our love for it, and nothing will make us abandon it, and we are here today to work as a group to protect it from this unfair decision and its consequences
UAE urges US to reconsider decision on Jerusalem, warns against “dire consequences”
Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, headed the UAE’s delegation at the extraordinary session of the Islamic Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, titled, “Unified Action in Solidarity with Jerusalem,” held in Istanbul.
The participants of the summit affirmed their absolute rejection of the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer its embassy in Israel to the occupied city while calling on the US to retract its decision.
The conference called on the international community to recognise the Palestinian State and support the two-state solution, based on the borders of 4th June, 1967, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, stressing that this is the only fair political solution to achieve peace.
Addressing the conference, Dr. Gargash said the decision infuriated the Arab, Islamic and international community for its unilateralism and its violation of international legitimacy and the international community’s hopes of achieving peace in the region.
“Jerusalem is not only a city, but it is the cradle of civilisations and religions, it has the Al Aqsa Mosque, the first of the two Qiblas and the Third Holy Mosque, and is the place of the nocturnal journey of our Prophet, peace be upon him. No love matches our love for it, and nothing will make us abandon it, and we are here today to work as a group to protect it from this unfair decision and its consequences,” he added.
“Jerusalem has always been an example of co-existence and tolerance through all eras and religions, and through its history, we have learnt the lessons of wisdom, mercy and moderation. But this oppressive occupation has obliterated everything, its identity, its religion and its sanctity. The occupation’s violence and injustice have contributed to extremism, terrorism and hatred, so we now see scenes that we have never seen before, where the elderly are insulted and the young and weak are harmed, chilling scenes.
“And now comes the US decision to set ablaze the sorrows in our souls, incur injustice and aggression, and provoke our feelings and thought, even though this decision will not change anything about Jerusalem’s reality. However, it will complicate the situation, inflame further violence and stir extremist ideology, which we have suffered from for decades, and it will distance the hope of a complete and fair political solution to establish an independent Palestinian state and its capital, Jerusalem, and will prevent us all from realising our wishes to visit Jerusalem,” he noted.
Dr Gargash expressed the UAE’s utmost sorrow and condemnation of the unilateral decision taken by the US President to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while stressing that this decision will not change the legal position of the occupied city of Jerusalem, and we call upon all international parties to avoid the current situation in the city.
“In this context, I would like to highlight the unified Arab position, which was issued through the decision of the Ministerial Council of the Arab League during its emergency session held last Saturday, which produced a decisive and firm rejection of the US decision and demanded its withdrawal, which does not only represent Arab and Islamic consensus, but also reflects the international position that was clearly reaffirmed during the emergency session of the Security Council, held in New York last week.”
Dr. Gargash added that the UAE had already warned against this step and expressed deep concern of the serious consequences of this decision and what it entails, including provocation of Muslims everywhere coupled with its negative impact on the future of the peace process.
“The US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital represents an unjustified bias in American administration’s stance towards the Palestinian cause. It comes at a time when everyone was looking forward to the USA playing a pivotal and positive role in solving this issue and succeeding in the peace process. Also, its timing contradicts with the affirmations of the American administration that it will adopt a new approach towards peace. This unilateral decision has come to undermine the credibility of the moderator.”
Therefore, Dr. Gargash continued to say, this decision is considered a flagrant violation of the principle of non-influence in the final solution negotiations about Jerusalem.
“The US decision breaches international resolutions, which confirm the historical and established rights of the Palestinian people to Jerusalem. It cannot be touched or imposed as a fait accompli on them, as this decision also represents a bias against the historical rights of the Palestinian people to the occupied city, which are entrenched in the resolutions of the Security Council and principles of the International Law, which enjoy the recognition and support of the international community.”
The UAE, the minister stressed, underscores the necessity to commit to the Security Council’s Resolution No. 478 of 1980, which clearly calls on countries that hold diplomatic missions in Jerusalem to withdraw these presence from the Holy City.
“We reiterate the importance of complying with all relevant international resolutions, which demand that no diplomatic missions should be established in Jerusalem, nor should any embassies be moved to it, in addition to refraining from recognising the city as the capital of Israel. These resolutions categorically consider Jerusalem an integral part of the Palestinian lands occupied since1967.”
The minister reaffirmed UAE’s utter support for the endeavours aimed to reach a permanent, just and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian cause, based on the two-state solution.
“We underline the necessity of establishing an independent Palestinian state on the borders of lands occupied in 1967 and its capital Eastern Jerusalem, according to the Resolutions of International Legitimacy, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the Madrid Principles. The UAE will continue to support the Arab identity of Jerusalem and its legal status, which has been set out in all relevant international agreements and will continue to back the Palestinian people’s rights. We will continue to affirm that the final status of Jerusalem represents the core of the peace process. It is the main guarantee for stability in the region and that any violation of the legal status of Jerusalem could open new doors for a new extremist speech.”
The UAE, the minister added, calls on the international community to fulfil its responsibilities according to the provisions of the International Law and the UN Charter, in order to put an end the suffering of the Palestinian people and take all the measures that should end the Israeli occupation of all the Arab and Palestinian territories. “We warn that the continuation of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands and its unfair practices and violations of the sanctities of the Palestinian territories is a threat to security and stability. It feeds racism, terrorism and extremism in the entire region.”
The UAE urges the American side to reconsider the decision of recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, the minister noted, warning against the gravity of politicising the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian cause in order to achieve short-sighted goals and agendas in a way that undermines the rights of the Palestinian people and all Muslims, and leads to dire consequences.
“This unfair challenge is a difficult test for Arabs and Muslims. At this point and for one of the most important causes facing the Islamic world, we must unify efforts, maintain our noble values, work seriously and co-operate with the international community to realise the centrality of the Palestinian cause with the status of Jerusalem as its core and crux. Without this concerted effort, we will not survive.
“We must at the same time reject the immoral exploitation of this ordeal, which tests us all. We should reject abusive speech against each other as it marginalises the importance of this cause. While being needed in dealing with the international community, rationality and wisdom should be the basis of our approach toward each other. We must consider out-of-the-box solutions and properly address Muslims angered by this development , and endeavour to ensure a common ground among Arabs, Muslims and Christians in our rejection of the American decision and our effort to dismantle it. We seek the establishment of peace with the aim of guaranteeing the Islamic and Palestinian rights and ensuring stability in the region.”
Dr Gargash expressed hope that the meeting would result in firm steps within the framework of “a joint Islamic action, which achieves the aspirations of the brotherly Palestinian people and all our Islamic peoples.”