A meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is due to be convened by Thursday in the Saudi Arabian city of Jedda. Its aim is to work out possible means to confront the Israeli authorities that are digging around the Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied east Jerusalem .
The upcoming meeting will focus on the Israeli excavations around the third holiest site for Muslims worldwide. They will discuss a way to halt such ‘blatant’ violation of international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
A number of OIC’s member states will be represented in the meeting, including Malaysia, Qatar, Senegal, Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Palestine. The meeting will be followed by a press conference in which the meeting’s findings will be highlighted.
Israeli authorities in occupied east Jerusalem have been carrying out excavations around the Al-Aqsa mosque, mainly close to the Bab-Almagharba gate, thus exposing the holy shrine to possible collapse.
Various countries and international organizations deemed the digging unjustified and called on Israel to halt it immediately, while Israel alleged it is ‘necessary’ for renovation of a fragile walk-way to the west of the mosque.
The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) was established in 1969, after an Israeli Jewish extremist set fire to the Salah Eldin pulpit of the Al-aqsa mosque. The pulpit has been renovated over the past two years with special funding from the king of Jordan, Abdullah II.
Given the sensitivity of the site, several inflamations of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been sparked due to Israeli actions over the area.
In 1996, 80 Palestinians were killed when Israel opened a tunnel near the site. The current uprising broke out in 2000 after the then Israeli opposition leader, Ariel Sharon, paid a provocative visit to the mosque’s compound.