PETALING JAYA: The government’s condemnation of the decision by United States President Donald Trump to endorse Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is merely to gain cheap publicity, says a former diplomat.
“The government seems more interested in gaining political mileage and cheap publicity domestically rather than working with like-minded countries to protect the rights of the Palestinian people,” said Dennis Ignatius, who is a former Malaysian ambassador to Chile and Argentina.
Ignatius said this after Prime Minister Najib Razak called on Muslims worldwide to strongly oppose the decision by Trump to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Najib had made the call during his speech at the Umno general assembly in Kuala Lumpur earlier.
“It should be noted that practically all countries in the world are opposed to the US decision,” Ignatius told FMT.
Referring to Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s call to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) members to object to Trump’s move, he said the OIC had done little all this time.
“Malaysia and other OIC countries have for too long paid only lip service to the Palestine issue, exploiting it for domestic purposes but doing little to actually encourage the peace process,” he said.
He added that the Saudi Arabia government was largely to blame for the diplomatic fiasco currently taking place.
“They have pursued policies that have left the Middle East and the OIC divided and distracted. They have allowed their ambitions and enmity with Iran to destabilise the region,” he added.
Ignatius urged the OIC to engage with Trump and other world leaders to give the Palestinian people their own state as part of a comprehensive peace settlement.
Meanwhile, Redzuan Kushairi, who was a former Malaysian ambassador to Uzbekistan, said that Trump “crossed the red line” on Jerusalem by ignoring the feelings of the millions of Muslims around the world.
“Trump is going against international law and is illegally changing the situation on the ground, emboldening anti-peace Netanyahu (Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel) and undermining international peace efforts,” Redzuan said.
He also said no Muslim could accept Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
“For Muslims, Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque were the destination of Prophet Mohammad SAW on his ‘night journey’, from where he ascended to heaven to speak to God. It is sacred to Muslims all around the world,” he said.
However, the University of Nottingham’s Zaharom Nain said the issue of Jerusalem and the Palestinian people was not only a Muslim issue, but a humanitarian issue.
“The fact is that the Palestinians in the region have experienced one humanitarian crisis after another. More than 750,000 Palestinians, according to numerous historical accounts, were expelled by the Israeli forces in 1948, losing their homes and possessions,” he said of the population which comprises both Muslims and Christians.
Like Ignatius, Zaharom also urged Malaysia to pursue further action by putting Saudi Arabia on the spot in the issue although he said it was “doubtful” this would happen.
“Malaysia should go further and criticise the Saudi regime’s role in all this.
“There will, of course, be a lot of noise generated over a week or so, demonstrations will be held outside the US embassy but it will be back to business as usual afterwards and Najib will continue to help ‘develop the US economy’,” he said.
Source: FMT News | December 9, 2017