JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's president on Monday urged a summit of Muslim nations to be part of the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather than part of the problem.
President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who heads the most populous Muslim nation, said the entire world is concerned by the deterioration of the situation in Palestine and criticized what he called Israel's "unilateral and illegal policies."
Officials from 57 countries are meeting in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, for a special summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation that is focused on Palestine and Jerusalem. The Middle East quartet — consisting of the U.N., Russia, U.S. and European Union — and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council are also represented.
"The OIC should be part of the solution, and not part of the problem," Jokowi said in opening remarks to the summit. "If the OIC cannot be part of the solution to Palestine, then the OIC becomes irrelevant."
Israel says a recent surge in violence is the result of a Palestinian campaign of lies and incitement. Palestinians say it stems from frustration from nearly a half century of Israeli military rule.
For decades, international efforts have failed to work out a lasting comprehensive agreement on the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including Jerusalem, borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees and security arrangements.
Talks ground to a halt three years ago, and efforts to revive them have stalled, particularly over Palestinian demands that Israel announce a freeze in construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which they claim as part of a future state along with Gaza. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said his country doesn't waver in its belief that what Palestine needs is independence and the right to determine its own affairs.
"The complexity of the problems continues to emerge in the Middle East, but the condition of Palestinians has always been a concern for Muslims in the world. Resolving the Al Quds issue can create peace in the region," he said, using a Palestinian name for Jerusalem.
Among the leaders at the Jakarta meeting is Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes allegations linked to the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region. Indonesia is not an ICC member state.