JEDDAH: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation yesterday condemned “war crimes” by Israel in Gaza and urged a meeting of donors on financing reconstruction in the enclave devastated by a month-long war.
In a statement after a ministerial meeting, the second on Gaza in three days, the OIC said that “in the liveliest terms” the meeting condemned Israel, “the occupying force, for war crimes it doesn’t stop committing in the Palestinian territories.”
“Israel should immediately cease its aggression against the Palestinian people and shoulder political and legal responsibility for war crimes,” the
Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal said in a speech to the meeting: “Israel should realise that peace is the only option to survive.”
The OIC also proposed a meeting of donors on the reconstruction of Gaza, where the war has caused $4bn to $6bn of damage, according to the Palestinian Economy Ministry.
A Palestinian official said yesterday that Egypt has offered to host a conference of Gaza donors. “The Egyptians proposed a few days ago to stage a donors conference” at the Red Sea resort of Sharm El Sheikh, said the official, who asked not to be named.
The OIC praised Saudi Arabia for supplying medical aid worth SAR300m, as well as a commitment to provide $500m towards reconstruction in Gaza.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki said yesterday in Caracas a probe by the UN Human Rights Council will prove Israel committed war crimes and violated humanitarian law during its Gaza offensive.
Speaking after Israel complained that the inquiry was biased, Maliki said the Palestinians were confident in the commission, set up last month after the top UN human rights body adopted a Palestinian-drafted resolution over US opposition.
“We have full confidence that this commission is going to do everything to demonstrate that Israel has committed war crimes, crimes against humanity in its attack on the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip,” Maliki told journalists in the Venezuelan capital as he arrived for an official visit.
“We are going to cooperate with this commission when it arrives in Palestine,” he added.
“We know Israel won’t allow it to enter the West Bank and we will seek alternatives so that the commission can carry out its mission.”
Earlier, Israel attacked the man named to lead the inquiry, Canadian lawyer William Schabas, as anti-Israeli.
“This commission’s anti-Israeli conclusions have already been written, all it needs is a signature,” foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.
Nearly 2,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel launched its Gaza offensive on July 8 to halt cross-border rocket fire. On the Israeli side, 67 people have been killed, mostly soldiers.
Maliki also saw off a shipment of humanitarian aid from Venezuela, which has backed the Palestinian cause since the late socialist president Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999.