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 Ăzdel – Anadolu Agency]
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuâs announcement of his intention to annex areas of the West Bank following next weekâs elections shows Israel is becoming a âracist, apartheid regimeâ, Turkeyâs 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, Turkeyâs foreign ministry said the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) would convene in Jeddah on Sunday to discuss Netanyahuâs statement.
Speaking in Jeddah, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Netanyahuâs âembarrassingâ plan was a âdespicableâ attempt to earn votes ahead of Tuesdayâs election, and criticized what he called a lack of reaction from other Muslim countries.
âIsrael, encouraged by the support of certain countries, is continuing its aggressive policies that are turning it into a racist, apartheid regime,â Cavusoglu was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
âIf 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 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 BâTselem 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 Israelâs policy towards the Palestinians and Jerusalemâs 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 Israelâs capital.
Turkey and Israel also expelled each otherâs 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