Palestine beckons


Attractive state: Dr Anwar (left) presenting a souvenir to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Wahid Omar.

JOHOR BARU: Palestine wants to attract more Malaysian Muslims and Christians to visit the state as there are many interesting historical and religious places for them to see.

Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Anwar Al-Agha said that Malaysian Muslims can perform their prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Aslkari better known as The Golden Dome Mosque in Jerusalem.

He said Christians on the other hands could visit Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem about 10km south of Jerusalem identified by Christian tradition as the birthplace of Jesus since the 2nd century.

“Come to Palestine to experience yourself the historical and religious wonders of the old medieval world close to the Muslims and Christians hearts,” said Dr Anwar.

He said this in a press conference at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia to commemorate 67th Anniversary of al-Nakba, which is the Arabic word for “catastrophe”.

The day is celebrated on May 15, each year to signify the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land in 1948 for the creation of what is called the state of Israel.

This has resulted in more than 800,000 Palestinians being expelled form their homes and forced to leave their state and 400 Palestinians towns and villages were depopulated and destroyed.

Today, up to eight million Palestinians are refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Gulf countries and accross the globe.

Dr Anwar said the Palestinian Embassy in Kuala Lumpur has no exact figures on the numbers of Malaysian tourists to Palestine yearly as it did not have records on their visit.

“We hope more Malaysian travel agents will organise tour packages to Palestine,” he said.

Dr Anwar said Palestine was not only about Jerusalem as tourists could also visit other places such as the famous Dead Sea and Jericho, the oldest city of the world.

Separately, he hoped that more European countries would recognise Palestinian State following the latest recognition by Vatican adding 140 countries have recognised Palestine so far.

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