OIC foreign ministers to meet over Netanyahu ‘escalation’

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The Organization of Islamic Cooperation said it will hold an emergency foreign ministers’ meeting on Sunday to discuss an “Israeli escalation” following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election pledge to annex part of the West Bank.

“At the request of Saudi Arabia, the organization will hold an emergency meeting on Sunday at the level of foreign ministers in Jeddah... to discuss the serious Israeli escalation,” the 57-member pan-Islamic body said on Twitter on Wednesday.

Dr. Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen, Secretary General of the OIC, said that “the Israeli occupation government should be held accountable for the repercussions of this illegal declaration, which would undermine any international efforts to achieve a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in accordance with the vision of a two-state solution,” according to a statement carried by Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

He called on all countries and international organizations “to reject and condemn this provocative declaration, as well as to oblige Israel to stop all its unilateral actions as they are null and void and have no legal effect under international law and relevant UN resolutions.”

Battling to win re-election in September 17 polls, Netanyahu issued a deeply controversial pledge on Tuesday to annex the strategic Jordan Valley, which accounts for around a third of the occupied West Bank.

He also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank, but in coordination with US President Donald Trump, whose long-awaited peace plan is expected to be unveiled sometime after the election.

Taken together, those moves could essentially destroy any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu’s pledge has drawn firm condemnation from the Palestinians, the United Nations, the European Union and Arab states, including Saudi Arabia which called it a “dangerous escalation.”

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