Iyad Ameen Madani

Your Royal Highness Prince Saud Al Faisal, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Chair of the 41st Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM), Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Assalamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

Your kind response to the call for this extraordinary ministerial meeting of the Executive Committee for the second time in a month, to take stock of the developments and implications of the mounting Israeli military onslaught against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, is a confirmation of the binding will, vibrant solidarity and true commitment to the objectives and values of the OIC.

The Israeli aggression continues to violate all sanctities, values and international laws and norms by perpetrating war crimes that have killed more than 2,000 Palestinian civilians so far, and injuring 10,000 people, most of them children, women and elderly. It has also demolished thousands of homes, institutions destroyed infrastructure and has left more than 470,000 people homeless. It has crossed the moral and ethical line by going to the extent of demolishing mosques. Having uprooted Palestinians from their land, Israel is now intent on depriving them from their inner peace; from the sanctuary of their places of refuge and worship. Warfare has rarely witnessed such level of barbarism.

We are meeting today to take a position expressing the OIC’s unwavering support for the Palestinian people in their plight, a position that lives up to this daunting challenge to us all. A challenge that requires serious, effective and tangible response to end the Palestinian bloodshed, shore up support for the Palestinian people and defend their legitimate rights.

The OIC has also appealed to the international community and its institutions to intervene immediately to end this aggression and provide urgent humanitarian needs. The OIC Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the OIC Office in New York conducted the necessary consultations among the OIC Group and the other political groups. Relentless efforts have been made to arrive at a UN stance that condemns and ends this ongoing crime. The UN Security Council held three consecutive meetings but its presidential statement fell short of our expectations.

This ongoing human tragedy experienced by the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip places on Member States, individually and collectively the responsibility to take all possible measures to meet this challenge. It is the General Secretariat’s view that the priorities to guide the OIC’s efforts at the present should be as follows:

* Ensure an end to the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip

* End the illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

* Open border crossings, and enable Palestinian citizens to live in a stable society characterized by normal human movement, thereby creating an environment supportive of security, stability and optimism.

* Bolster all efforts to revive the peace process and protect the Palestinian people from a repeat of Israeli attacks and carnage.

* Consolidate the national reconciliation government of the Palestinian factions.

In order to realize the above priorities, continuous, effective and concerted action should commence to achieve the following objectives:

- To emphasize the absolute necessity and inevitability of Palestinian unity, the Palestinian national government and the conduct of elections on the basis of the agreement signed recently by the PLO delegation and Hamas.

- All possible efforts to be made by Member States at the bilateral level and at the level of the OIC Group to arrive at a definitive international resolution and position to ensure that these Israeli attacks, excesses and violations are not repeated; and to provide necessary international protection for the Palestinian people.

- To boost collective efforts and take supportive and effective position for the resumption of negotiations based on the two-state solution under the Arab peace initiative and the framework announced by the Palestinian leadership for the return of those negotiations.

- To allocate the necessary budget for the legal action on the International Criminal Court and the Apartheid state cases.

- To approve a budget for preparing detailed economic and financial feasibility study for reconstruction and opening the Gaza Airport.

- To approve a budget for preparing detailed economic and engineering feasibility study for establishing a seaport in the Gaza Strip.

- To revive, support and finance of Al Quds Fund which was established for the City of Al Quds Al Sharif; support the Islamic Solidarity Fund to help it achieve its objectives, particularly “alleviating the impact of crises, natural disasters and social conditions facing Islamic countries and societies; and provide the necessary financial assistance” so that the Organisation may help alleviate the human suffering in the Gaza Strip and contribute to the reconstruction of Gaza.

The General Secretariat stresses once again that Palestinian national unity constitutes an impregnable fortress against the enemies of the Palestinian people and their just cause. Therefore, I call upon all Palestinian parties and factions to rise above narrow considerations and preserve the unity of vision and position in order to meet the demands and aspirations of the Palestinian people, protect their rights and national achievements and enable them to move with determination toward the achievement of their national objectives.

In conclusion, I reiterate my thanks to you for attending this important extraordinary meeting; and I hope that it will come out with recommendations that rise to the challenges relating to the developments of the Palestinian cause and help end this outrageous Israeli onslaught against the Palestinian people.

Iyad Ameen Madani, Secretary General of OIC, gave this statement at the expanded extraordinary meeting of the executive committee at the level of foreign ministers on the serious situation in the occupied state of Palestine, including al Quds al Sharif, Jeddah - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.