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Palestinian PM meets with Turkish president in Istanbul

May 8, 2017 10:40 P.M. (Updated: May 12, 2017 9:31 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah met with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul on Monday to “discuss ways to support Jerusalem,” according to a statement from the prime minister’s spokesperson office.

According to the statement, Hamdallah informed Erdogan and attendees of the meeting of the latest updates regarding the political situation in Palestine and “Israeli violations.” A topic that Hamdallah reportedly stressed in the meeting was that of the some 1,600 Palestinian prisoners currently on day 22 of a mass hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

Hamdallah and Erdogan discussed the possibility of holding a common committee between the two countries in the occupied West Bank before the end of 2017, as well as establishing a school for the Palestinian community in Turkey.

Erdogan “confirmed the necessity of unifying efforts to protect Jerusalem against attempts of judaization,” the statement said, adding that Erdogan called on Muslims to increase their visitation to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, which is the site of constant raids by Israeli forces and settlers.

Due to the beliefs and “historical responsibilities” of Muslims, Erdogan said, Turkey has given “huge attention to Jerusalem and to the struggle of Palestinians for justice,” adding that Turkey is doubling down on efforts “to make Jerusalem the city of security, independence and peace again.”

“It is impossible to find a solution and peace in the region without finding a fair solution for the Palestinian cause first,” Erdogan said, adding that “no country should be allowed to act above the law,” referring to Israel’s constant violations of international law through continued settlement expansion and the occupation of Palestinian territory.

Erdogan added that “the only solution” is to establish Palestinian state on the 1967 borders and “exert pressure on Israel.”

“Israel keeps getting away from punishment which leads it to escalated aggression against Palestinians,” Erdogan said, adding that all peace-making attempts will fail “unless Israel is held accountable for its crimes.”
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