Organization of Islamic Cooperation ‘totally rejects’ Netanyahu’s annexation vow

57-member pan-Islamic body says PM’s pledge to extend sovereignty to Jordan Valley, settlements, is ‘a dangerous escalation’ that undermines the two-state solution

Foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meet in the Saudi capital Riyadh on September 15, 2019. (AFP)
Foreign ministers of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meet in the Saudi capital Riyadh on September 15, 2019. (AFP)

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The Organization of Islamic Cooperation on Sunday expressed its “total rejection” of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pre-election pledge to extend Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank, Saudi state media said.

Battling to win re-election in polls on Tuesday, Benjamin Netanyahu made a  controversial promise last week to apply sovereignty to the strategic Jordan Valley, which accounts for around a quarter of the West Bank.

He also repeated his intention to do the same with Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank, but in coordination with US President Donald Trump.

After an emergency foreign ministers’ meeting in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, the OIC expressed “its total rejection and strong condemnation of the Israeli Prime Minister’s declaration.”

“This dangerous declaration… deliberately undermines international efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace… and pushes the whole region towards further violence and instability,” the 57-member pan-Islamic body added in a statement carried by Saudi state media.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a map of the Jordan Valley, vowing to extend Israeli sovereignty there if re-elected, during a speech in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

The emergency meeting of OIC foreign ministers was called at the request of Saudi Arabia, which has unilaterally condemned Netanyahu’s pledge as a “dangerous escalation.”

The multilateral statement comes as Netanyahu’s government on Sunday approved a new settlement in the West Bank.

The Israeli cabinet agreed to turn the wildcat settlement of Mevoot Yericho in the Jordan Valley into an official settlement, the premier’s office said.

Netanyahu’s pledge to extend sovereignty to the Jordan Valley, tantamount to annexation, has drawn firm condemnation from the Palestinians, the United Nations, the European Union and Arab states.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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