During the Twentieth Session of the Al-Quds Committee, a body aiming to "peacefully raise the voice against Zionist atrocities and human rights’ violations in occupied Palestine," the Moroccan king and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas slammed Israel and its West Bank policy.
"There can be no peace without stability, nor agreement without occupied east Jerusalem being recognized as the capital of the Palestinian state," Abbas said at the event.
The Al-Quds Committee was founded by the pan-Muslim Organization of Islamic Cooperation in 1975, and in its annual meeting Abbas warned against Israel using peace talks as a "cover" to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank.
Abbas was speaking in Morocco at a meeting held amid heightened concern by Arab and Western nations over new Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The US-brokered peace talks must "not serve as a cover for the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories," said Abbas.
Addressing a packed hall of Arab leaders, including Abbas, Morocco's King Mohammed VI said that "this session is being held at a time when solidarity for the Palestinian cause is declining, be it in terms of political and material support, or media coverage," Maghreb Arab Press reported.
The king expressed his desire to "commend the untiring efforts exerted by US Secretary of State John Kerry. The success of (the talks) hinges on the adoption of a comprehensive approach in which all final settlement issues are addressed.
"In this regard, it should be stressed that Al Quds is the core issue of the Palestinian cause, and that no peace is conceivable without an agreement on the final status of East Al-Quds as the capital of the independent Palestinian State."
According to the king "for peace to be achieved, Israel must fulfill its obligations, especially with respect to the Road Map, as well as the prospects opened up by the Arab Peace Initiative."
"The crucial element for a stronger Palestinian position remains the achievement of sincere national Palestinian reconciliation based on the unity of Palestinian ranks under the legitimate National Authority led by my brother Mahmoud Abbas,
"This constructive reconciliation should put the best interests of the Palestinian people above all other considerations, contributing, in particular, to the creation of the independent Palestinian State on Palestinian liberated territory, with East Al Quds as its capital, living in security, peace and concord with Israel."
Nonetheless, the king stated Morocco's dedication to the preservation of the "Arab and Islamic character of the city of Al-Quds al-Sharif," even though "We cannot defend the holy city against Judaization schemes."
The king claimed that he recently "wrote to His Holiness the Pope and to the Secretary-General of the UN regarding the Holy See's intention to sign an agreement with Israel on the legal status of the Catholic Church's property in the occupied city of Al-Quds.
"I stressed that the signing of such an agreement would not only confer legitimacy on the practices of the occupation authorities, but would also be a violation of international resolutions which prohibit any alteration of the legal status of Al-Quds."