KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called on Asean to extend a united front in backing the Palestinians.
The interim prime minister said Asean member states should continue their cooperation not only in the realms where they have been consistently growing together but also in the pursuit of justice and peace for the oppressed.
“Our collective voice regionally should espouse more than just economic development. We should also extend a united front in supporting the rights of the Palestinians,“ he said in his keynote address at an international conference on Palestine here today.
Mahathir said all platforms available, both Asean and non-Asean, should be used to continue voicing concerns and registering outrage over the inhumane and barbaric acts that the Tel Aviv regime has inflicted on the Palestinians.
“We are duty bound and this responsibility is further amplified when powerful nations that had styled themselves as defenders of justice and freedom choose to be silent while the atrocities are being committed. And we cannot afford to practise double standards where gross injustice is concerned,“ he said.
Mahathir again condemned the so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ peace plan proposed by the United States to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The unilateral announcement endorsed and instigated by the Israelis without any attempts for dialogue or negotiations with Palestinian representatives from the West Bank or Gaza is a mockery of international efforts to find a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli ongoing crisis,“ he said.
The deal foregoes key issues at stake for a just solution, he said, noting that it would, among others, abolish the right of return for Palestinian refugees displaced by the 1948 war and their descendants – a key Palestinian stand.
Mahathir underscored that Malaysia’s foreign policy towards Palestine has remained the same since it became an independent nation.
“We will always support the Palestinian cause,“ he said.
He also said that Malaysia stands by its position that the creation of an independent State of Palestine through a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 border, with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, is acceptable. — Bernama