Displaying items by tag: palestine conflict

Tuesday, 01 September 2020 16:52

Two-state solution will satisfy Palestinians

When the United Arab Emirates recognised Israel as a full state, the most basic condition attached to the process that Israel cease and desist from any settlement activities in the West Bank.

However, there was no effort to specify when Israel should do that, merely an aspiration, which the UAE would like to see on the ground.

Another important point, there are more then 650,000 settlers in Israel, staying in the occupied land of Palestine wrested from King Hussein of Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War.

If the settlers had already considered these occupied land as their homes, which are against the Geneva Convention, the action of the UAE has amounted to rewarding the action of the Likud government, especially the coalition lead by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The fact is that since the Madrid Dialogue in 1990, as approved by the late United States president George Bush, with the consent of then Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Shamir, a two-state solution has always been in the offing.

To the degree the Spanish peace process could not make any head ways, Professor Herbert Kelman at Harvard University helped it along.

Kelman invited scholars and government officials from both sides to speak in their private albeit semi official capacity, in what is otherwise known as a "Track 2 Dialogue", a field explored in great detail by Phar Kim Beng, a former Harvard teaching fellow from 1998 to 2001.

When the confidence was gained by both sides, the Norwegian government took over to sponsor the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks leading to the 1994 Oslo Peace Accord signed between the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, who was representing the People's Liberation Organisation.

Regrettably, since then, Netanyahu, who has won five elections, has never taken this Oslo Accord seriously.

If the UAE does not understand the peril of the peace process, especially how brittle it can be, the Gulf country should not unilaterally recognise Israel.

There are three dire strategic implications.

First, the ultra-conservative elements in Iran have considered UAE a "legitimate target", potentially to be attacked. This is not healthy for regional dynamics.

Secondly, with Turkey against the plan too, it will lobby the members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) to challenge the leadership of the United States and Israel to hamper any progress.

This will create a split in Nato at a point when the organisation is already very weak due to the absence of American leadership.

Finally, if UAE works with the US and Israel, the much sought-after Muslim unity will fray, not that it hasn't, because the Muslim world will begin to question
the legitimacy of the global order.

A two-state solution is the only gold standard that can satisfy the Palestinians, and all those who have had the misfortune to witness their displacement for decades.

The writer is president and chief executive officer of Emir Research, an independent think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

Published in: New Straits Times on Tuesday, 01 September 2020

Source NST: https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2020/09/620924/two-state-solution-will-satisfy-palestinians

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today lambasted “powerful nations” for their silence over the prolonged Israeli war crimes on Palestinian land.

In expressing his anger towards such atrocities, the interim prime minister said sufferings of the Palestinian people persist despite demands for justice against the oppression.

“I am also angry that powerful nations and self-proclaimed defenders of justice, freedom and democracy are keeping silent or worse, a party to the perpetrations of injustices and cruelties inflicted on the Palestinians, wantonly by the Tel Aviv regime.

“Most hurtful is at times when despair creeps in, and the sense of helplessness overwhelms us. Everyone speaks of justice and freedom but turns a blind eye when friends and allies commit all these wrong deeds. But I hope that such feelings are fleeting.

“While Malaysia wants to be friends with all countries and respect their sovereignty regardless of their ideological beliefs, we must continue to speak against injustices and in defending the rights of the oppressed,” he said in his keynote address at the opening session of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, themed ‘Southeast Asian Support for the Rights of the Palestinian People’ at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre here today.

He said Malaysia reaffirmed its commitment to the cause until the Palestinians were provided with the justice, freedom, peace and security they deserve.

Dr Mahathir also urged Asean member states to continue the pursuit of justice and peace for the oppressed.

“Our collective voice regionally should espouse more than just economic development. We should also extend a united front in supporting the rights of the Palestinians. This is the primary purpose of this peace conference.

“This conference today is a congregation of global representatives – individually and collectively we can utilise all the platforms available, both Asean and non-Asean, for us to continue voicing our concerns and register our outrage over the inhumane and barbaric acts that the Tel Aviv regime has inflicted on the Palestinians.

“We are duty-bound and this responsibility is further amplified when powerful nations that had styled themselves as defenders of justice and freedom choose to be silent while the atrocities are being committed.

“And we cannot afford to practise double standards where gross injustice is concerned.”

Dr Mahathir reiterated Malaysia’s stand against the United States President Donald Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan, dubbed by proponents as “the deal of the century”, which was announced on Jan 28.

Malaysia, he said, stands by its position for the creation of an independent State of Palestine through a two-State solution based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

“The unilateral announcement endorsed and instigated by the Israelis without any attempts for dialogue or negotiation with Palestinian representatives from the West Bank or Gaza is a mockery of international efforts to find a solution to the Palestinian – Israeli ongoing crisis.

“Furthermore, to call it the Deal of the Century bespeaks of the ultimate in dishonest brokerage.

“The deal foregoes key issues at stake for a just solution. The plan would abolish the right of return for Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants, a key Palestinian stand.”

The deal, he said, is contrary to Security Council resolutions and the principle of a permanent two-State solution based on the 1967 borders, the realisation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and the right of all States in the region to live in peace and security.

It does not respect previously signed agreements and commitments, he said.

“To suggest East Jerusalem as Israel’s national capital would grant Palestine limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank, if at all. At the same time, it would allow Israel to annex all its settlements there and keep nearly all of East Jerusalem. Thankfully, this has been deemed illegal by the international community.

“Israel will get Washington’s permission to annex all of its illegal settlements, now littered across the West Bank, as well as the vast agricultural basin of the Jordan Valley. I believe that under international law, the annexation of an occupied territory is considered a War Crime!

“Israel will continue to have military control over the entire West Bank. In the proposed agreement, Palestine would not be allowed an army, whereas Israel will control its security, borders, coastal waters and airspace. The occupied state would be forced to accept the plan within four years. Otherwise, Israel will have a free hand to start plundering yet more Palestinian territory.

“Malaysia finds the proposal utterly unacceptable and grossly unjust.

“Let us not forget that the international community back then was responsible for the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and drowning the existing state of Palestine into anonymity and oblivion.”

He said it was on May 14, 1948, that Israel came into being through a bloody forcible seizure of villages and land from the Palestinians who had lived there from historical times.

The declaration of independence by Israel, he said, contrasts with the fate of Palestinians so much that the latter deems the date as the day of catastrophe.

“The Holocaust lasted six years and the Nakba (catastrophe) has been going on for more than 70 years! The pro-Israel nations were quick to hold a tribunal at Nuremberg to try Nazi war criminals but have any tribunal been established for the Palestinian victims?

“Palestinians have always been advised to forget the past and start anew wherever they may be. The paradox is that they live out the consequences of the past every day as oppressed people under a violent military occupation; as a powerless minority in Israel, or as marginalised exiles in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

“Yet the Israelis will not allow the world to forget the Holocaust and ironically it is the Palestinians who have been made to pay a heavy price.

“Some of you may recall that in November 2013 the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War held a tribunal against the state of Israel for war crimes and crimes of genocide.

“Along with other civil society initiatives across the world, we hope that the International Criminal Court will take note of this blatant case of the injustice of the century and institute proceedings against Israel.”


Published in: The New Straits Times, Satruday 29 February 2020

Source: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2020/02/570128/dr-m-slams-powerful-nations-being-silent-over-palestine

Sunday, 19 May 2019 08:43

Give peace a chance

The anti-Israel demonstrations that were held recently in London, Germany, and Amsterdam, the Netherlands last week clearly showed that the atrocities committed by the Israeli Defence Forces against helpless Palestinians deserve unequivocal condemnation by the world.

What is really frustrating about the asymmetrical conflict between Israel and Palestine is the fact that the Trump administration, just like its predecessors, remains committed to ensuring Israel’s military dominance in the region.

The entanglement of the US in this protracted conflict has inevitably aggravated the situation by financing and supporting Israel’s settlement programmes in the occupied territories. Put in another way, Israel and the US have never been committed to the peace process. As long as the US provides the support, Israel will use it to suppress the Palestinians.

What Israel aims to achieve is very clear for the world to see, which is to annex the occupied territories, reduce the Arab population as well as to disperse the refugees and crush any manifestation of Palestinian nationalism or culture.

Israel’s policy towards Palestine is consistent with the rejection of any political settlement that accommodates rights of the indigenous population. Clearly, Israel is not in support of a two-state political settlement that would include recognised borders, security guarantees, and reasonable prospects for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. What is more, Israel’s conduct in dealing with Palestinian transgressions has been over the top.

While it is true that certain segments of Palestinian society are equally responsible for soliciting retaliations from Israel by launching terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, the latter, however, has used excessive force in responding to Palestinian provocations and the rate of Palestinian civilian casualties is alarming.

A precursor to the ongoing schism between Israel and Palestine is the setting up of the state of Israel in 1948, the subsequent attack by the Arab armies in 1967 and the 1973 attack against Israel by Egypt and Syria, also known as the Yom Kippur War.

It should be highlighted that the Arabs of Palestine were not in favour of a Jewish state and large-scale Jewish immigration which more often than not had led to dispossession of their lands. The Arabs were not consulted in the preparation of the European plans to facilitate the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.

While it may seem natural for the Arabs not to peaceably accept the confiscation of their land, this protest by the Arabs is described as anti-Semitism in certain Western circles. The West tends to accept the position expressed by Lord Arthur Balfour, author of the Balfour declaration of 1917, in which Britain promised a Jewish national home in Palestine, as the natural point of departure.

Arab opposition to Britain’s proposal to establish a Jewish state was an open secret and could be tied to president Woodrow Wilson’s King-Crane Commission findings in 1919 which reported that the Zionists looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the present non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine. The commission also estimated that nearly all of the Arab population in Palestine were emphatically against the entire Zionist programme, and warned that to subject them to this programme would be a gross violation of the principle of self-determination and of the people’s rights.

More importantly, the world should be reminded that the establishment in Palestine of a national home of the Jewish people was premised on the condition that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. What has happened is anything but respect for Palestinian rights.

The rape of Palestinian human rights is very well documented. President Jimmy Carter’s Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is an excellent rendition of Israel’s systematic discrimination against Palestinians. Under this oppressive system, Israelis are totally dominant and tend to suppress violence by violating Palestinians’ basic human rights. Palestinians are being herded into places that are surrounded by walls, fences, and Israeli checkpoints reminiscent of Adolf Hitler’s Auschwitz concentration camp.

But over the years, many Arab states have come to accept the sovereignty of Israel. Despite the many road maps to peace that were brokered by the superpowers, peace between Israel and Palestine remains elusive. One of the many contributing factors for the continued conflict is the Israelis’ thirst for Palestinian land.

The growing conflict between Israel and Palestine is also related to the condoning of illegal actions of the former by a pliant American administration, and Israel’s continued defiance of United Nations Resolution 242 which is still the binding law that condemns the acquisition of land by force and requires Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories.

On their part, the Palestinians have to stop honouring suicide bombers and targeting Israeli civilians.

Most of all, both conflicting parties have to be willing to give peace a chance.

Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk is the director of the Centre for Policy Research and International Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia

Published in: New Straits Times, 19 May 2019

Source: https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2019/05/489633/give-peace-chance

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Monday, 12 February 2018 13:54

Israel's brand of terrorism

All across the globe, Israel has been called a terrorist state. Since its inception, the country has used its intelligence service (Mossad) to assassinate people on foreign soil.

In the Middle East, terror has been perpetrated by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people. However, they defend their actions as a “sign of strength” and “resilience”.

It is not a surprise that a few days after United States President Donald Trump called for the US embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Israelis again showed “strength”.

Mohammed Zeidan, director of Human Rights Association in Nazareth, said since that day, “seven minors have been seriously injured by Israelis forces”.

The US has turned a blind eye to Israel’s misuse of US-supplied tear gas, bulldozers and munitions to commit human rights violations against the Palestinians.

A Pennsylvania-based company, Combined Systems Incorporated, has for years, supplied Israel with tear gas, a non-lethal means for crowd dispersal and control.

“Israel has repeatedly used tear gas at close range on unarmed protesters who posed no threat to soldiers, often injuring and even killing them.

“There is a hyper-militarised culture of incitement and belligerence in Israel.”

Palestinians are still viewed by the state, and much of the Israeli public, as enemy combatants. A few years ago, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat called on Israeli civilians who owned firearms to carry them at all times and be ready to use them.

Last week, Israeli member of parliament Oren Hazan verbally harassed Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip journeying by bus to visit imprisoned relatives in an Israeli prison, calling their sons “dogs” and “terrorists”.

He told them: “You educated your son to murder and we will show your son to the ground.”

Oren said the bus was carrying the families of “animals”.

Many Israeli politicians like Hazan have used psychological terrorism against the Palestinians through the worst humiliation and abuse imaginable.

Though most Palestinian political prisoners hail from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, they are placed in prisons inside Israel, in direct contravention of international law. Families of Palestinian prisoners must, therefore, apply for hard-to-obtain permits to enter Israel and visit them, usually in buses organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Terrorism has been the hallmark of Israeli leaders, including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, among others.

Assassination of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals in Europe and the Middle East has happened for years.

Israel used chemical weapons in the attempt to assassinate Khalid Meshal, a Hamas leader, in Amman in 1997 on the orders of Netanyahu.

Israel was the “first, fundamental and only suspect in the suspicious death of Yasser Arafat”, based on the reports of Swiss and Russian scientists on a sample taken from the exhumed corpse of the Palestinian leader.

Although the cause of Arafat’s death has never been determined in real confidence, one can quote several Israeli leaders who stated that “killing Arafat is a viable option”.

Israeli violence is not limited to Palestinians but includes the assassination of the British minister, Lord Moyne, in 1944 in Cairo as planned by Shamir, a former Israeli prime minister. Another assassination, of the Swedish nobleman Count Folke Bernadotte on Sept 17, 1948, in Jerusalem, was alleged to be on the orders of Shamir.

Bernadotte’s sin was his recommendation, as the United Nations mediator, that Palestinian refugees who were driven out from their homes by Israel should be allowed to return.

This recommendation was the substance of the UN resolution 194, on Dec 11, 1948, stipulating the right of return for the Palestinian refugees as soon as possible.

The first deliberate act of shooting down a civilian airliner was carried out by Israel when a Libyan airliner was shot down by fighter jets over Sinai in February 1973, on the orders of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, killing 107 passengers and its entire French crew.

Israeli terror was not restricted to Palestinians, Arabs and Europeans, but included its own closest supporter and ally, the US. In 1954, Israeli secret agents bombed Egyptian, American and British-owned civilian targets, cinemas, libraries and American educational centres. The attacks were blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, or “local nationalists” with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to maintain its occupying troops in Egypt’s Suez Canal zone.

Israel’s Mossad agents, too, were the ones who carried out the much-publicised assassinations of four Iranian scientists — Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan — between 2010 and 2012.

The noted British historian, Arnold Toynbee, in a 1961 lecture at McGill University, Canada, delivered to a largely Jewish audience, highlighted the crimes committed by Israel in the name of the Jews, thus: “The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1948 was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of six million Jews... The most tragic thing in human life is when people who have suffered impose suffering in their turn.”

The Palestinian people today are calling for a modicum of justice. This will not happen if we continue to condone Israel’s state-sponsored terrorism.

The writer is a Fulbright scholar and Japan Institute of International Affairs fellow, and a former lecturer of UiTM Shah Alam and International Islamic University Malaysia, Gombak.

Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 29 December 2017

Source : https://www.nst.com.my/opinion/columnists/2017/12/319394/israels-brand-terrorism

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Friday, 19 January 2018 15:06

Israel must respect rights of others

On Dec 6, United States President Donald Trump formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This decision, since rejected by the international community, has caused significant consternation amongst Muslims, for whom Jerusalem (in Arabic al-Quds, ‘The Holy’) was both the first qibla (direction of prayer) and the scene of the mi’raj, or the Prophet Muhammad’s ascent into Heaven.......................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)



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