Turkey: MPs from around the world gather in Ankara for Jerusalem
By Ali Abo Rezeg
ANKARA (AA): Parliamentarians from 50 countries from across the world gathered Tuesday in the Turkish capital Ankara to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause and the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Organized by the League of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds, an NGO, the conference was attended by lawmakers from Turkey, Arab and African countries as well as legislators from Europe and South America.
In his opening speech, Yemeni MP Hameid al-Ahmar, who chairs the pro-Jerusalem league, said the two-day event is held under the theme “Jerusalem is Our Red Line.”
“This conference aims at proposing ideas to institutionalizing our efforts to serve the Palestinian cause,” al-Ahmar said.
“We have gathered here today to mobilize a relentless support to serve the struggle of the Palestinian people,” he added.
Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop, for his part, asserted that “Jerusalem has been and will always remain a red line.”
“Jerusalem issue is of our national causes, it is at the heart of our honor, it is our red line,” Sentop said, going on to vow that Turkey will continue to “stand by the oppressed Muslim peoples.”
Jerusalem remains at the heart of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping East Jerusalem, now occupied by Israel, might eventually serve as capital of a future Palestinian state.
Palestinian MP and Hamas leader Khalil al-Hayya said the conference is held at a “decisive moment for the Palestinian cause in general and Jerusalem in particular.”
“We are calling on parliament speakers and MPs who came from different continents to pressure their governments to mobilize the needed support for the Palestinian cause,” he said.
Al-Hayya added that “it is the exact time to repulse the deals of normalization with Israel and do everything possible to sanction the Israeli occupation.”
Last year, four Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco – signed agreements with Israel to normalize their relations, in a move condemned by Palestinians as a betrayal of their cause.
Thanking the Turkish parliament for hosting the conference, al-Hayya said “we are grateful to the free people from across the world who keeps the Palestinian cause alive.”
Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain said that the Pakistani people “appreciate the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, particularly during the latest offensive launched by Israel over Gaza.”
In May, an Israeli offensive left nearly 260 Palestinians dead and thousands wounded as well as a vast trail of destruction in Gaza. Palestinian resistance groups responded with rocket fire into Israel, killing at least 13 Israelis.
Affirming that his country and parliament utterly reject any recognition of Israel, Hussain said that Islamabad has suggested a joint initiative with the state of Qatar in this regard.
He, however, did not provide any details about the joint initiative.
“We also reject the British move to classify Hamas as a terrorist group,” he added.
Earlier this month, the British government banned Palestinian resistance group Hamas as a “terrorist” organization.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Brazilian MP Perpetua Almeida said she is taking part in the conference because the Palestinian issue is a main cause for all free people around the world.
“I am here to show solidarity with the Palestinian cause and to assert my defense for Jerusalem, which will remain the eternal capital for Palestinians.”
Malawian MP Annie Aisha Adams said the “ongoing atrocities being committed by Israel against the Palestinian women and children prompted her to attend the conference.”
“This is not a religious issue, it is a human rights issue, and I, as a representative of my country, condemn the killings and abuses against the innocent people of Palestine,” Adams told Anadolu Agency.
The conference coincides with the UN-instituted International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which is marked on Nov. 29.
[Photo: Participants at the 4th Conference of the League of Parliamentarians for Al-Quds, in Ankara, Turkey on November 30, 2021. Photographer: Doğukan Keskinkılıç/AA]
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