Cairo, 28 Rabiul Awwal 1434/9 February 2013. (MINA) – Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has expressed solidarity with Palestinians saying that the issue of Palestine is the foremost issue facing Muslim nations, according Press TV reports, monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Saturday.
“We are confronting a lot of challenges, first and foremost…we have the Palestinian cause,” Morsi said as he opened the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
“The Palestinian cause is the cornerstone in order to achieve security and stability in the Middle East and in the world as a whole,” he added.
Over 160 Palestinians, including women and children, were killed and about 1,200 others were injured in the Israeli attacks on Gaza that were carried out during the eight-day period of November 14-21, 2012.
Morsi went on to say that Islamic nations must support an “independent Palestinian state” with East al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital.
“The main goal for our organization…is to support the efforts of the Palestinians and to retrieve the legitimate rights of people in the occupied territories and to establish a Palestinian state which enjoys sovereignty,” Morsi said.
Israeli settlements obstacle to peace
In November, 2012, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to upgrade Palestine’s status at the UN from “non-member observer entity” to “non-member observer state” despite strong opposition from Israel and the US.
Morsi also slammed Israel’s expansion of Zionist settlements in the Palestinian lands.
The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts aimed to establish peace in the Middle East.
More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.
The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.
The two-day OIC is expected to discuss other issues, including the plight of Muslims in Myanmar. The OIC has 56 members including Iran, which is represented by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. (T/P015/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)