KL urges OIC to object; Jakarta voices concern

KUALA LUMPUR • Members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) must object in a uni-ted voice to any suggestion by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Is-rael, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday.

According to Malaysia's New Straits Times, Datuk Seri Zahid said OIC members should react swiftly to any such plan as it could escalate into a major crisis in the Middle East.

"We are very concerned with this development, and I wish for the OIC members to speak up in one voice to object any move by the United States to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"The OIC nations should view it as beyond a Palestinian matter as it is an international issue," Mr Zahid added.

He said this after receiving a courtesy call from a Hamas delegation led by its Political Bureau member, Dr Maher Salah, in Kuala Lumpur.

Hamas is the Palestinian Islamist movement which controls the Gaza Strip and opposes Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

Mr Zahid added that Malaysia will come up with a suggestion and an action plan in handling the issue, reported NST. "The suggestion will not interfere in the internal affairs of any country, including the superpower nations, but we hope it would lead to the resolution of the issue and avoid potential conflicts," he said.

Indonesia's top diplomat joined a similar chorus of world leaders urging US President Donald Trump not to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, as the move may endanger the ongoing Middle East peace process, reported the Jakarta Post.

Speaking at the opening of a seminar in support of Palestine, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said she spoke with US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph Donovan on Monday to persuade the White House against recognising Jerusalem as the capital.

"Indonesia clearly expressed its deep concern over the issue of the status of Jerusalem. Any change in the status of Jerusalem will endanger the peace process and peace itself," she said on Tuesday.

The status of Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with both Israelis and Palestinians claiming the city as their capital.

"I also mentioned (to Mr Donovan) that the leadership and wisdom of the US are needed on the Palestine issue," said Ms Retno, as quoted by the Jakarta Post.

Palestine's ambassador-designate to Indonesia, Mr Zuhair al Shun, urged immediate action to prevent Mr Trump from radically changing the US position, "before it is too late".

"The President has been clear on this issue from the get-go: It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley was quoted by Reuters as saying on Monday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 07, 2017, with the headline 'KL urges OIC to object; Jakarta voices concern'. Print Edition | Subscribe