Date: 21/08/2016

These days mark the forty-seventh painful anniversary of the heinous attempts to burn the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, the first qibla of Islam and its third holiest mosque. The occasion is being remembered amid escalating aggression, attacks and repeated crimes against the blessed Mosque by the extremist Israeli settlers under the protection of the Israeli occupation. It is being marked amid growing calls for the division and destruction of the Mosque in order to build the purported temple on its ruins and amid the intensification of the Israeli policies of Judaization and ethnic cleansing of the occupied holy city, its people and sanctuaries, in flagrant violation of international law and relevant internationally legitimate resolutions.

On this painful occasion, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation reiterates the special status of the City of Al-Quds Ash-Shareef in the conscience of the Muslim ummah and that the safety and sacredness of its holy sites are closely linked to security and peace in the entire region. Therefore Israel, the occupying power, shall assume full responsibility for the safety of all holy sites under its unjust occupation. This is more so because international treaties and conventions, particularly the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibit an occupying state from violating places of worship, guarantee freedom of access to them, and prohibit the occupying power from taking any measures that would change the geographic and demographic landmarks or from attacking their historical sites.

The OIC, whose direct raison d’être is the cause of Palestine and Al-Quds and in the face of continued Israeli aggressions against the city of Al-Quds Ash-Shareef, calls on the international community to compel Israel, the occupying power to abide by the principles of international law and internationally legitimate resolutions, to end its occupation of all the territories of the State of Palestine recognized by the United Nations on 29 November 2012 on the 1967 borders, including the city of Al-Quds Ash-Shareef, and to cease all its recurrent attacks and judaizationschemes, particularly the attempts to undermine its Islamic and Christian holy sites, notably the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The OIC also emphasizes the constant position of the Muslim ummah on Al-Quds Ash-Shareef and support of the inalienable Palestinian rights to it as the capital of the State of Palestine. It also emphasizes its commitments to work for the protection of its Arab and Islamic identity. It renews its call to Member States to continue to provide all forms of support and backing for the city of Al-Quds and its steadfast people.

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