THE long-suffering citizens of Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip, are being subjected to yet another round of murder, brutalisation and wanton destruction by Israel. Overwhelmingly, the victims of Israel's disproportionate, indiscriminate and despicably violent retaliation have been – and continue to be – the most vulnerable sections of Gazan society, including children.
By launching its latest onslaught against Gaza during the holy month of Ramadan which continued even during the Eid celebrations, the Zionist regime has sunk to a new low. Israel's justification and subsequent narrative that it is merely "defending itself" is laughable and ridiculous, but the consequences of their heavy-handed military retaliation against Palestinians is anything but.
Despite the official line, it is a known secret that the current Gaza offensive was launched on the flimsiest of pretexts, i.e., to distract the Israeli population from Prime Minister Netanyahu's failures on the domestic front.
Quite incredibly, Israel's ridiculously offensive "self-defence" narrative apparently enjoys some traction in certain states, particularly in the West. Given their long history of complicity in suppressing the dignity, rights and freedoms of the original inhabitants of Palestine (since at least 1948), this comes as no surprise.
Make no mistake, however, these long-standing supporters of Israel are hypocrites of the highest order who should equally be condemned for enabling Israel's continued subjugation of the Palestinians.
In forums such as the United Nations, the same Western countries will not hesitate to condemn and vilify other states for lesser human rights violations while turning a blind eye to the gross, systematic and widespread human rights violations by Israel against the Palestinian population.
Gaza in particular, has been subjected to untold suffering, death and devastation during successive Israeli military operations since at least 2007. Yet, Israel is able to continue on its murderous path with seeming impunity.
In my previous capacity as deputy foreign minister of Malaysia, I had the opportunity to raise Malaysia's concerns on the situation in Palestine in various international fora, including at the United Nations Security Council.
I remember being quite surprised then at how some representatives of the major countries and even UN officials seemed very conscious to not offend the Israeli delegation. Such double standards is disgusting. Worse still, it risks undermining the UN's very foundations, including the principle of sovereign equality among states.
As the occupying power, Israel continues to maintain effective control over the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Gaza and the West Bank. In this regard, Israel is fully responsible for the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Palestinians under its yoke. However, with the privileged treatment afforded to Israel by its powerful supporters, it is highly unlikely that it will be held accountable for the massive, ongoing violations of Palestinian human rights.
As the self-proclaimed "sole democracy in the Middle East", Israel must be especially proud that despite its inhuman treatment of Palestinians, it continues to be held to laughably lower human rights standards compared to other states.
In light of Israel's latest offensive on Gaza, I shall not mince words – the Zionist Israeli regime is a fascist one, whose apartheid ideology poses a clear threat to international peace and security. As such, any support for Israel's continued dehumanisation and delegitimisation of the Palestinian people and denial of their right to self-determination is an insult to humanity at large. Such state of affairs is unacceptable and cannot in good conscience be accepted by any right thinking member of the international community of nations.
Within the OIC, I am proud that Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia were able to speak with one voice and agree on a clear condemnation against Israel's latest Gaza offensive. The NAM should follow suit.
The UNSC must step-up to its leadership role in a fair and timely manner. Failure to do so would only compound the perception of impotence and ineffectiveness is addressing such a key issue of international peace and security. Similarly, the Middle East Quartet must also spare no effort in facilitating a just peace between Palestine and Israel – if it wishes to remain relevant.
"Reinventing the wheel" is not required as there is a clear roadmap, underpinned by the relevant UN resolutions and peace proposals which remain on the table. Though realistically, for any progress to be made, it is Israel that has to make concessions, given that the Palestinians have been stripped of anything of value such as land and natural resources.
Unless of course, Israel – aided and abetted by its friends and allies – has no intention whatsoever of implementing the "two-state solution" and is merely biding its time while simultaneously undertaking a long, drawn out genocide campaign against the Palestinians.
DATUK SERI REEZAL MERICAN NAINA MERICAN
Youth and Sports Minister