Palestine's redevelopment, peacebuilding efforts must include empowering climate justice

Palestine's redevelopment, peacebuilding efforts must include empowering climate justice

In the heart of the Middle East, Palestine stands as a testament to resilience, facing multifaceted challenges that span political strife, socio-economic devastation and environmental degradation.

Amidst this, Malaysia's unwavering commitment to supporting Palestine through this unimaginable humanitarian crisis is a testament to our solidarity.

As we delve into this intricate tapestry of support and solidarity, Malaysia would assert that empowering climate justice is key to resilience and peace.

Malaysia's relationship with Palestine is deep-rooted in a shared vision for justice and self-determination. This bond has been nurtured through decades of diplomatic support, where we have consistently stood by the Palestinian cause on the international stage.

Our nation's voice is a beacon of hope, advocating for Palestinian rights, condemning the Israeli occupation and pushing for a two-state solution that recognises Palestinian sovereignty. This diplomatic stance is complemented by tangible support, including humanitarian aid, development assistance and capacity-building initiatives aimed at alleviating the Palestinian plight.

The spectre of climate change looms large over Palestine, exacerbating existing vulnerabilities and introducing new challenges. The displacement of its population, destruction of basic and social infrastructure, water scarcity, disruption to all economic activities and health risks threaten to undermine the already fragile socio-economic fabric of the Palestinian society.

We have, time and time again, supported Palestine through motions in calling for a ceasefire. We are alarmed that the United Nations is being sidelined. '

In this context, our position extends beyond traditional diplomacy; it encompasses a holistic approach to also support Palestine in building resilience and peace.

Our efforts are multifaceted, aiming to empower Palestinians to think about what the future holds when peace comes and redevelopment efforts would take place. Malaysia stands with the global south and holds the position that Palestine's redevelopment has to incorporate climate justice.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East has already suffered a funding freeze from existing donors. The Muslim world has to explore new ways to support relief efforts for the Palestinians as the first step.

In utilising avenues in other multilateral platforms, advocating climate justice in peacebuilding efforts in conflict zones would assert the spirit that justice and development are mutually beneficial and empowering. We have to ensure that countries in conflict zones like Palestine must be given access to international climate finance, if not establishing a new funding mechanism for this purpose.

The International Committee for Red Cross (ICRC) has reported that 14 out of 25 countries most susceptible to climate change are embroiled in conflict. Malaysia has supported the climate declaration for Climate, Relief, Recovery and Peace during COP28.

The path to peace in Palestine is inextricably linked with addressing environmental and climate challenges. Recognising this, Malaysia has advocated for an integrated approach that combines peacebuilding efforts with climate action.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved amidst conflict, nor can peace be sustainable without addressing the environmental degradation that fuels further discord.

Malaysia's contribution towards integrating these efforts is two-fold. Firstly, through diplomatic channels, we aim to facilitate dialogue in the Muslim world and support international efforts aimed at achieving a peaceful resolution to the Palestine-Israel conflict.

Secondly, Malaysia will continue to support development aid that is strategically directed towards projects that not only address climate change but also promote social cohesion and economic stability in Palestinian communities and conflict zones.

As Malaysia continues to stand with Palestine, our approach is guided by a vision for a future where Palestinians enjoy stability, sovereignty and environmental sustainability. This vision is grounded in the belief that the international community must work together to address the root causes of conflict and environmental degradation.

The path forward requires continued solidarity, innovation and a commitment to justice. Malaysia, with its rich experience in fostering development and peace, is poised to lead by example, inspiring others to join in supporting Palestine's journey towards a brighter and more sustainable future.

In conclusion, Malaysia's role in supporting Palestine through its challenges of climate change and the quest for peace is a testament to our nation's commitment to global solidarity and sustainable development.

As we move forward, let this be a call to action for the international community to unite in support of Palestine, ensuring that the principles of justice, peace and environmental stewardship guide our collective efforts towards a more equitable and sustainable world.

This narrative not only highlights Malaysia's tangible contributions to Palestine but also underscores the importance of international solidarity and the interconnection between peace, climate justice, environmental sustainability and development.

Through this comprehensive approach, Malaysia supports Palestine in navigating its immediate challenges but also contributes to laying the foundations for a sustainable and peaceful future.

* Dr Maszlee Malik is chairman, the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) Malaysia.

** This article is co-authored by Aznie Rahim, Country Chair on Climate Action and Environment, G100: Mission Million.

Published in The NST on Monday, 04 March 2024.