In an extraordinary meeting in Istanbul, member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation accused Israel of "persistent public statements... that incite religious sensitivities, feed tension and incite violence".

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (C), Secretary General of OIC Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen (R) and Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki (L) attend a press conference after the Executive Committee Meeting of the OIC.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (C), Secretary General of OIC Yousef bin Ahmad Al-Othaimeen (R) and Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki (L) attend a press conference after the Executive Committee Meeting of the OIC.

The member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Tuesday accused Israel of staging provocative actions and inflaming tensions with the Palestinians in a crisis over security measures at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

Turkey hosted an extraordinary meeting in Istanbul of foreign ministers from the OIC that Ankara called to discuss the tensions in its current capacity as chairman of the body.

Turkey has full diplomatic relations with Israel after resolving last year a crisis in ties but it was highly critical of recent actions by Israeli security forces around the Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site.

The meeting brought together foreign ministers and top officials from Muslim-majority nations, including Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif.

TRT World's Zeina Awad has this report from the meeting.

Israel angered Muslims by installing metal detectors and security cameras at the compound, referred to as Haram al Sharif by Muslims and Temple Mount by Jews, following a July 14 shootout in which three Arab Israelis and two Israeli policemen were killed.

The move sparked protests and deadly unrest, and last week the Israeli government removed the detectors and cameras.

A joint communique issued after the gathering said the meeting "strongly condemns Israel's recent provocative actions" at the holy site.

It accused the Jewish state of "employing collective punishment measures and the use of lethal and excessive force against peaceful Palestinian worshippers" at the site.

And despite the Israeli climbdown on the metal detectors, the OIC statement accused the government of "persistent public statements... that incite religious sensitivities, feed tension and incite violence".

It urged world powers not to support or encourage Israel's "illegal colonisation and annexation" of East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967 before later annexing.

Turkey calls for revival of peace process

Speaking at the meeting, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Israel to respect the sensitives of Muslims to Al Aqsa.

"Israel took a step in the right direction. Our hope is that Israel will enter into an attitude that will fully take into account the sensitivities of Muslims to Al Aqsa from now on."

Cavusoglu said it was time the Muslim world united in supporting the Palestinians.

"Let's support the millions of Palestinians who have been forced to stay under Israel's occupation or fled abroad with our actions, not with mere words."

"We invite everyone who raised their voice to stop this injustice and recognise the Palestinian state," he said.

Cavusoglu said Turkey fully backed the two-state solution - a peace solution which calls for an independent Palestine alongside Israel.

"An independent Palestinian state within the borders of 1967 should be established as soon as possible."

"Could get nasty again"

Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told the meeting that Israel's move to remove the detectors was a "small victory in the long battle for freedom".

But he accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of seeking to change the longstanding agreement whereby only Muslims are allowed to pray inside the Al Aqsa mosque compound, although anyone can visit, including Jews.

"Netanyahu will try again to impose his status quo and we should prepare for the next round which could come very soon and be very nasty," he added.

In its statement, the OIC accused the Israeli government of "neither (being) committed to peace nor interested in the two-state solution", saying its actions were the "most dangerous threat to the prospects of peace".

Source: TRTWorld and agencies