RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- The Organization of Islamic Cooperation has chosen Jerusalem as the capital of Islamic tourism for 2016, Palestinian officials said Thursday.
Mahmoud Habbash, PA minister of religious affairs, said the decision is a step towards breaking Israel's siege of the city's Islamic and Christian holy sites.
The fact that Israel tries to hide the Arab and Islamic identity of the city and builds settlements will not change the fact that "Jerusalem is the religious and political capital of Palestine," he added.
Habbash said he hopes Arab and Islamic delegates would visit Jerusalem and its holy sites.
The 1st OIC International Forum on Islamic Tourism was held in Indonesia this year.
East Jerusalem was occupied in 1967 by Israeli military forces and later annexed in a move never recognized by the international community.