In the face of Western hypocrisy and inaction, Malaysia must take the lead on the situation in Occupied Palestine

NEARLY a month after the latest bout of violent conflict broke out in Occupied Palestine, it is very disappointing, but ultimately unsurprising, that developed countries, especially in the West, persist in peddling a black-and-white; good vs. evil narrative of the conflict.

They fail to realise that such narrative can never be reconciled with the overwhelming evidence of Israeli brutality in maintaining its illegal occupation of Palestine.

It is sickening to witness Israel's cynical opportunism in using the Hamas incursion of Oct 7 as a pretext to pulverise Gaza with the full, tacit and shameful approval of its Western backers.

The only difference between Israel's current actions in Gaza and the historical Nazi pogroms against Jewish ghettos in Europe is the massive firepower Israel has brought to bear on the largely civilian population in Gaza.

For far too long, the Israeli narrative, fully backed and supported by certain Western countries, have cast the Palestinians as less than humans and as such, they should be treated accordingly.

The international community must send a clear message that dehumanisation of Palestinians is wrong and completely unacceptable. Israel must be compelled to realise and accept that the Palestinians are their equal and their only partner for a just and lasting peace.

The rage, despair and utter helplessness of Gazans suffering under the inhumane blockade and massive military attacks by Israel clearly resonates with the right-thinking peoples of the world, many whom previously endured colonialism, oppression or manipulation by Israel's Western backers.

Ironically, the massive public protests against Israel and its illegal occupation and brutalisation of Palestinians in many Western capitals highlight how out of touch certain Western leaders are with the sentiment on their own ground.

The pro-Israel elites in the West must understand that the era of Western dominance that allowed Israel's establishment has long passed.

We are now at a historical inflection point where Israel's long, bloody record of oppression and subjugation of Palestine is irrefutable.

Similarly, the record of certain countries that have and continue to provide unconditional moral, material and military support thereby prolonging and enabling Israel's bloody and illegal occupation, are equally tainted with Palestinian blood.

For decades, the West perpetuated the fallacy of Israel as the so-called "only democracy in the Middle East".

Even before its current bloody campaign of terror in Gaza, only the most deluded supporter would consider Israel a full-fledged democracy.

Israel's current actions in Gaza only further underscores its racist, ethno-centric, ultra-nationalist and extremist tendencies.

Malaysia alongside other like-minded states must continue to impress upon the UN Security Council (UNSC) to shoulder its Charter-mandated responsibility to end to the current hostilities in Gaza and facilitate the immediate resumption of peaceful dialogue between Palestine and Israel, without preconditions.

The UNSC risks losing respect and relevance in global affairs should it continue to be indecisive on the Palestine-Israel conflict, especially in the present context. The UNSC must reaffirm that it stands for humanity and justice.

In this regard, we applaud the ongoing efforts by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to galvanise support for Palestine, including meeting with influential leaders from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkiye and UAE among others. Such efforts merits the full support of all Malaysians.

Since 1948, the world, through the United Nations, had time and again affirmed the right of Palestinians to their own country.

Since 1967, the world, also through the United Nations, recognised and continues to affirm the illegality of Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. fundamental facts.

In 2016 during the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Malaysia as a non-permanent member of the UNSC was able to use that platform to assert the right of Palestinians to a homeland.

Unfortunately, the current narrative by the mainstream, mainly Western media, conveniently omits these uncomfortable truths.

Given that the UNSC has thus far failed to take a lead role in resolving the Palestine-Israel conflict, Prime Minister's initiative to engage other like-minded countries in organising a summit level process aimed at exerting pressure on the UNSC must also be supported.

At the same time, Malaysia should also engage robustly with those UNSC members sympathetic to the Palestinian cause particularly China, Russia and possibly France.

While there is no way to tell how the current conflict in Occupied Palestine may end, it is clear is that there can be no return to the status quo ante bellum.

The Israeli blockade against Gaza must end, Israeli terror against Palestinians must end, Israeli apartheid against Palestinians must end and serious negotiations leading to the establishment of a Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital, must begin.

Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican is a former Deputy Foreign Minister

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