Muslim Nations Declare U.S. No Longer a Peace Broker in the Middle East

The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation prepared a draft declaration inviting world nations to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine

Leaders and representatives of member states attend a summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to discuss U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital in Istanbul on December 13, 2017.
Kayhan Ozer

A summit of Muslim leaders prepared a draft declaration Wednesday saying they considered Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a sign of U.S. withdrawal from its role as a sponsor of Middle East peace

The draft declaration obtained by Reuters also declared "East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, and invite(s) all countries to recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital." 

The summit of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation may offer the Muslim world's strongest response yet to Washington's move.

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Also at the summit Wednesday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the world’s nations Wednesday to reconsider their recognition of Israel after the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Read more: Abbas Says Palestinians Will Go to Security Council Over Full UN Membership

"We call on world nations to reconsider their recognition of Israel over its conduct toward Palestinians and its dismissal of decisions by the international community with the backing of the United States," Abbas told an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Turkey.

Abbas also called on world nations, in particular European countries, to officially recognize Palestine within the 1967 borders. He said Saudi Arabia's King Salman promised him personally that there will be no peace deal without a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

"Trump gave Jerusalem to the Zionist movement as if it as an American city, but for the first time the entire world stood against him, even Britain, Canada and Australia," Abbas said.

Turkey, the summit host, has sharply criticized what it described as weak Arab response so far on the issue of contested Jerusalem.

Speaking at the meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described Washington's decision as a reward for Israeli "terror acts" and said Jerusalem was a red line for Muslims. For the second time this week, Erdogan called Israel "a terror state."

The Turkish leader called on world powers to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and said the United States should reverse its decision.

While Saudi Arabia's King Salman opted out of attending the summit, he did make public remarks on the topic of Jerusalem on Wednesday, saying that the Palestinians have a right to East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, AFP reported.

"The kingdom has called for a political solution to resolve regional crises, foremost of which is the Palestinian issue and the restoration of the Palestinian people's legitimate rights, including the right to establish their independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital," King Salman said, according to the report.

In his address to the summit, Jordan's King Abdullah rejected any attempt to change the status of Jerusalem or its holy sites, and said peace would not come to the region without a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"All violence... is a result of a failure to find a peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue," he said.