KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): As he highlighted the cruelties inflicted against the Palestinians, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Israel is a criminal state that deserves to be condemned.
"I appeal to those who sympathise with the Palestinian cause to voice their condemnation. Terrorism is not the answer. A proper strategy is needed to bring justice to the Palestinians," said the Prime Minister.
In a hard-hitting blog post on Monday (Jan 28) titled "A Genocidal State", Dr Mahathir said the whole world could see the injustice and the oppression of the Palestinians by the Israelis but Israel was not even criticised by the people who talked so much about freedom from oppression and the rule of law.
"Israel seems to be privileged. If anyone criticises Israel or the holocaust, he is immediately labelled anti-Semitic. The implication is that he is inhumane or immoral. But the blatant inhumanity of Israel is not condemned," he said.
Malaysia was not anti-Jew or anti-Semitic, he said, pointing out that the Arabs were also Semitic people.
"But we reserve the right to condemn inhuman and oppressive behaviour anywhere, by anyone. We have condemned the Myanmar people for their treatment of the Rohingyas. We have criticised many countries and people for inhuman acts.
"Many people and many countries have condemned us. But we have not been labelled nor have we labelled people who speak as a matter of right in a free world," Dr Mahathir said.
The International Paralympic Committee has stripped Malaysia of the right to host the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships scheduled for July 29-Aug 4 in Kuching after the country said it would not allow Israeli athletes to participate.
"Malaysia bans two Israeli athletes – the US bans citizens of five Islamic nations and plans to build a wall against South Americans. Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic ban refugees. Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban referred to Syrian refugees as 'Muslim invaders'," he said, highlighting the absurdity of the situation.
Acknowledging the strong backing for Israel, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia could not act against Israel beyond refusing to recognise it, but maintained that Kuala Lumpur had a right to bar Israelis from the country.
"When the world condemns us for this, we have a right to say that the world is being hypocritical. Their talk of human rights and the rule of law is so much empty words," the Prime Minister said.
For those who might have forgotten history, Dr Mahathir reminded them that Israel was created from a slice of Palestinian land without a referendum or a plebiscite being held, with the Palestinians expelled from Palestine without any compensation for the land and homes seized by the Israelis.
He said Israel then seized more Palestinian land so that Israel became bigger, building numerous settlements on Palestinian land without the consent of the Palestinian nation.
"When the Palestinians resisted and threw stones at Israeli tanks and armoured cars, the Israeli soldiers fired live bullets at the Palestinian children and arrested many of them. The arrested people were detained for years without trial," he said.
Dr Mahathir alluded to the illegal blockade of Gaza but no country had condemned Israel for breaking international laws and moral codes.
"Today Israel declares that Jerusalem is its capital. When Palestinian slapped Israeli soldiers, they were shot and killed and many were detained," he said, adding that Palestinians could not visit relatives without being subjected to humiliating checks at many check-points created by the Israelis.
When the Palestinians fired futile rockets at Israel, he said, the Israelis dropped bombs and fired missiles at Palestinian towns and villages, destroying schools and hospitals as well as killing or maiming patients and children.
He said thousands of Palestinians had been killed or wounded through Israeli military actions.
All this, he said, answered the question why Malaysia does not recognise Israel, has no diplomatic relations with it, and does not allow Malaysians to visit Israel or vice versa.
"This is the only country in the world that Malaysia treats in this manner," Dr Mahathir said. - Bernama