May 19 2018

Muslim leaders call for international peace force to protect Palestinians

Muslim leaders on Friday at a special summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) convened by Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, pledged to take “appropriate political (and) economic measures” against countries that followed the United States in moving their Israel embassies to contested Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and called for the creation of an international peacekeeping force to provide security for Palestinians, Reuters reported.

Erdoğan, during the special summit of the 57-member OIC, compared the actions of its forces to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews in World War Two, when millions were killed in concentration camps, the agency said.

The OIC described the killing of 60 Palestinians, protesting the embassy move on Monday, as “savage crimes committed by the Israeli forces with the backing of the U.S. administration.’’

The planned move by the United States last week of its embassy in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement in December recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Trump’s declaration broke decades of U.S. neutrality on the topic and caused a great deal of reaction in the Muslim world. Israeli forces killed 60 Palestinians and injured thousands during protests and against the embassy move last week.

The violence in Gaza led to Turkey and Israel expelling each other’s senior diplomats.

Erdoğan, who has said the U.S. is to blame for the deaths last week, stressed during the summit that the U.S. decision to move its embassy had emboldened Israel to put down the protests at the border with Gaza with excessive force.