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Statement by the OIC Group on the situation in Occupied East Jerusalem - 2015-09-18

New York, 18 September 2015 - The OIC Group in New York expresses its profound concern over the illegal policies and measures taken by Israel, the occupying power, against Al-Aqsa Mosque, and all provocations and assaults perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces and fanatic settlers against worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque and its courtyards, in blatant defiance of the feelings of Muslims.

The OIC Group, further, condemns in the strongest terms all acts of provocation, violence and incitement by the forces of the occupying power, especially burning parts of the mosque, attacking worshipers inside it, arresting those stationed in its courtyards and preventing Palestinians from exercising their religious rights. The OIC considers all these acts as state terrorism and crimes against freedom of worship, and grave violation of international agreements and conventions that guarantee the protection of holy religious sites.

The OIC stresses that Al-Aqsa Mosque is a pure undividable Islamic holy site with a particular significance for the entire Muslim world as the First Qiblah and the third Holiest Mosque in Islam. It calls for full respect for the rights of Muslim worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque to practice their religious rights free from incitement, provocation and violence. It warns that provocations and assaults of the Israeli occupation forces and extremist settlers at this Islamic site further destabilize the fragile situation, which will, eventually, fuel violence and tension and have far-reaching consequences.

The OIC Group stresses the need to compel the occupying power to fully respect international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and relevant UN resolutions, and to respect the sanctity of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Group, further, reasserts that East Jerusalem remains an integral part of the Palestinian Territory occupied by Israel in 1967, and Israel’s attempts to annex the city is rejected and unrecognized by the international community.

Therefore, the OIC calls upon the international community, especially the UN Security Council, to seriously act in order to curtail Israel's flagrantly racist, oppressive and disrespectful actions, provide protection for the Palestinian people and their holy places, and to end the Israeli occupation that began in 1967.

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