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(The following is the text of the address of the Motamar Al-Alam Al-Islami Secretary-General, Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq, in the meeting of the General Islamic Council for Jerusalem held in Amman, Jordan, on September 22-23, 2003.)
We are grateful to General Islamic Council for Jerusalem, to have convened this meeting at a very crucial time, both for the Muslims in general and the people of this region in particular. It will enable the participants to review the latest developments in a dispassionate manner and to draw right conclusions for the purposes of developing a viable strategy.
There is no denying the fact that the Neo-conservatives in the US in collaboration with Israel are desperately trying to reshape a new ‘Middle East’. It is generally accepted now that Israel is the only beneficiary of the unfortunate events of 9/11 and the atmosphere during the past two years has been fully utilized by Israel to push forward its own agenda of scuttling the so-called peace process, through continuous military interventions and oppressively occupying the entire area supposed to be under the Palestinian Authority. The United Nations has been ineffective and the latest exercise of Veto by the United States against the Syria-Pakistan sponsored resolution has further disappointed all those who still had some faith in the UN system to protect the weak against militarily powerful countries. It was not the first but 36th Veto used by the United States in favour of Israel in the Security Council. Every such action by the sole super power further encourages Israel for more lethal aggression and arrogance.
The Palestinians are today pushed to the precipice beyond which there is no space left for them to further withdraw or fall back.
Muslim countries by and large have been brought under tremendous pressures individually so that their primary consideration becomes their own survival and self preservation and they become shy in taking up even the just cause of the Palestinian people, against the wishes and interest of the United States and Israel.
Many people in the world do not know that scores of Protestant churches have been lured to sponsor Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory. Thus creating powerful stake holders in the American civil society who defend inhuman Israeli policies towards Palestinians.
In this oppressive scenario one also observes some positive developments - successful visit of Russia by the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince H.H. Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, after 65 years of the last visit by Late King Faisal as Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia His Majesty, King Abdullah of Jordan’s visit to Tehran; the first since Islamic Revolution in 1979 and Turkey’s new ‘Look East’ policy despite being in the NATO and being a candidate for European Union membership, are efforts by three important Muslim countries to broaden foreign policy options, particularly in this region.
The resistance from within Iraq of the occupation forces has also forced US to change its stance towards the UN which would certainly help to change the atmosphere in the Middle East region. These are the possibilities which have to be probed and taken into consideration in evolving a long-term strategy to safeguard the interest of the bleeding and continuously humiliated people of Palestine and the rights of global Muslims in the Holy city of Jerusalem.
Instead of talking to ourselves we have to muster all available sources, political, diplomatic and financial, to preserve and protect our rights in the Holy city of Jerusalem and the inalienable rights of the people of Palestine. In the current weeks two important events are taking place - 1. Emergent General Assembly session of the United Nation where a resolution has been passed with 133 votes for and four against Israeli designs. 2. The forthcoming Summit of the O.I.C. in Kaula Lumpur. We must plan to utilize these opportunities for a solid and practical backing of the just Palestinian Cause.
I pray to Allah S.W.T. to guide us in our deliberations and grant us wisdom to reach right conclusions and perseverance to transform our resolve in to concrete actions.