Halt weapons transfer from the US to Israel, says Anwar in Al Jazeera interview

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has called for an end to weapons transfer from the US to Israel, as well as using its strong global influence to end the war against the Palestinians.

“I think the international community made it very clear that authorities and governments including the US should do whatever it can for a complete cessation of hostilities and stop the war.

“Such rhetoric is quite subtle at times but the actions seem to be on the contrary and that’s why I see sometimes most countries in the West are being quite hypocritical between their lectures on human rights and democracy but at the same time condoning, if not tolerating this atrocity against an innocent population,” said the Prime Minister in an interview with Al-Jazeera on Sunday (May 19) morning.

Anwar said the US should do whatever is necessary to stop the atrocities and that includes not only weapons but they also have the influence, mechanisms and diplomatic skills, all combined, to be able to force (Israel to stop the war).

“It is impossible to imagine that one man, (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu can dictate world affairs,” he added.

Anwar said he had also expressed his stance on Israel during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders' Meeting in San Francisco last year, where he appealed to US president Joe Biden to call for an immediate ceasefire.

However, he said that there had been no response from the US following his speech.

Anwar said Israel’s continued annexation of Palestinian land was a form of colonisation.

“People talk about the Nakba (great catastrophe of 1948) and the following threats, the continued annexation...it is a colonisation.

“Clearly (Israel is an apartheid state), how else do you explain their (Israel's) actions against the Palestinians and the fact that they continue to control lands that belong to the Palestinian people?

“Looking at the facts and the disastrous consequences in Gaza, no one in their right mind could deny the fact that it is either an ethnic cleansing or gross apartheid or genocide. It has come to that,” he said.

Anwar said this in response to a question by “Talk to Al Jazeera” host Sami Zeidan who asked if the Prime Minister sees Israel as a “colonial apartheid state”.

When asked if he agreed with international human rights groups labelling the United States as being complicit with Israel in the war in Gaza, Anwar said this was something he could not deny.

“I’m in no position to deny that because the facts are evident. Knowing atrocities are being committed, whether it’s your ally or a friend or a nation that has a nexus with you, you cannot condone this, otherwise you have no moral standing in the world to talk about international relations, humanity, order and human rights.”

Anwar also said during the interview that he had met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and former Hamas chairman Khaled Mashal.

"Whether you like it or not, it (Hamas) does represent some portion of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

"I am not here to defend anyone, but why the hypocrisy of condemning Hamas over Oct 7 and then stay muted in regard to the more than 60 years of atrocities against the Palestinian people?

"This engagement is purely diplomatic (and) political, to persuade them (Hamas) to understand the concerns of others.

"It is of benefit, as the Qataris have done, to secure the release of hostages through contact and engagement.

"You don't need to agree with everything they do, but I think a principled stance would help," he added.

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