The world’s largest body of Islamic nations has called for an emergency meeting over statements made last week by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel would never relinquish control over the Golan Heights.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation will meet Tuesday at its headquarters in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to discuss “Israeli escalation against the occupied Syrian Golan,” joining others in the region to express alarm over Netanyahu’s declaration
During a cabinet visit to the area last Sunday, Netanyahu said that Israel does not oppose current efforts to reach a political agreement to end the Syrian civil war, but that Israel’s boundary line with the country will not change, referring to Jerusalem’s hold on the plateau.
“I convened this celebratory meeting in the Golan Heights to send a clear message: The Golan will always remain in Israel’s hands. Israel will never withdraw from the Golan Heights,” he declared.
In a statement released Sunday, the 57-member OIC called the comments “provoking acts” and said they considered them “a serious escalation and flagrant violation of the Resolutions of international legitimacy and International Law.”
Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Six Day War from Syria and [effectively] annexed it in 1981.
The international community never accepted Israel’s annexation, and Israeli leaders see in the turmoil in Syria a chance to convince the world to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
The OIC announcement follows a similar meeting of the Arab League on the issue last Thursday during which Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi called for a special criminal court to be set up for Israel.
The US, Germany, Syria and others all either condemned or said they opposed Netanyahu’s stance.
The OIC held its annual summit earlier this month, focusing on the Palestinian cause, conflicts in member states and combating terrorism.
During the summit the OIC passed a resolution on the Palestinian issue and support for international efforts to relaunch a “collective political process.