Foreign Minister of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu (C-L) meets Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki (C-R) ahead of Extraordinary Meeting of Council of Foreign Ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 15 September 2019. [Cem Ă–zdel – Anadolu Agency]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuâ€™s announcement of his intention to annex areas of the West Bank following next weekâ€™s elections shows Israel is becoming a â€śracist, apartheid regimeâ€ť, Turkeyâ€™s foreign minister was quoted as saying on Sunday, Reuters reports.
Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would annex the Jordan Valley, a swathe of the occupied West Bank that Israel captured in 1967 and which Palestinians want as part of a future state. The move alarmed Middle Eastern nations, European powers and Arab foreign ministers.
On Saturday, Turkeyâ€™s foreign ministry said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would convene in Jeddah on Sunday to discuss Netanyahuâ€™s statement.
Speaking in Jeddah, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Netanyahuâ€™s â€śembarrassingâ€ť plan was a â€śdespicableâ€ť attempt to earn votes ahead of Tuesdayâ€™s election, and criticized what he called a lack of reaction from other Muslim countries.
â€śIsrael, encouraged by the support of certain countries, is continuing its aggressive policies that are turning it into a racist, apartheid regime,â€ť Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
â€śIf the whole Muslim community had reacted together, the reckless plans, policies and behaviour of the United States and Israel would never have reached this point,â€ť Cavusoglu said.
Around 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, the Israeli human rights group Bâ€™Tselem says. The main Palestinian city is Jericho, with some 28 villages and smaller Bedouin communities.
Turkey and Israel, former allies, have long been at odds over Israelâ€™s policy towards the Palestinians and Jerusalemâ€™s status. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called for a summit of the OIC twice last year after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to recognize Jerusalem as Israelâ€™s capital.
Turkey and Israel also expelled each otherâ€™s top diplomats last year during a dispute over clashes when dozens of Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border. The two sides continue to trade with one another.
Source: Middle East Monitor/Reuters/Anadolu
Edited for IMEMC: Ali Salam