Malaysia condemns Israel over military aggression against Gaza

Mahathir Mohamad condemned Israel over the use of military force against Palestinian protesters who were marching to mark the anniversary of the Great March of Return. (Reuters)
Updated 02 April 2019

Malaysia condemns Israel over military aggression against Gaza

  • Mahathir Mohamad: I strongly condemn the excessive use of force by Israel toward the Palestinians - I urge Israel to respect international humanitarian law
  • The Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also slammed Israel for using live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters, injuring 300

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian prime minister on Tuesday condemned the Israeli government over the use of military force against Palestinian protesters who were marching to mark the anniversary of the Great March of Return in the Gaza Strip.

“I strongly condemn the excessive use of force in retaliation by Israel toward the Palestinians, using hundreds of missiles from Israeli warplanes and the placement of military assets at the border,” Mahathir Mohamad said in a statement released by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Since last Saturday, a large mass of protesters have demonstrated along the Gaza fence to demand the right to return to their homes in occupied Palestine, as well as to demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip. 

Earlier, the Malaysian Ministry of Foreign Affairs slammed Israel for using “live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas” on protesters, injuring 300.

The 93-year-old premier is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza and regards Israel’s recent actions as “systematic acts of violent aggression, incitement, provocation and collective punishment against defenseless Palestinians.”

The Southeast Asian nation has called on Israel for a cease-fire between the two sides, while condemning the international community for its “silence” on the matter.

“I call for all parties to de-escalate the growing tension and to restore calm. I urge Israel to respect international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians. The cease-fire must be fully respected,” said Mahathir, adding that “many innocent lives” had been lost due to the conflict between Israel and Palestine. 

Muslim Imran, president of the Palestinian Cultural Organization based in Malaysia, told Arab News that he applauded Malaysia for being consistent about its stance on the Palestine issue. 

“The Palestinians are highly appreciative of Malaysia’s stance. I hope other Islamic nations, members of the OIC and UN would be vocal and play an active role to help end Israeli’s violations,” Imran said. 

“Malaysia’s solidarity has come at a time when some Arab nations are in internal turmoil, therefore Malaysia’s solidarity has become more important and more essential,” he said. 

Malaysia does not recognize Israel as a country and has received backlash by some for being “anti-Semitic.” In January, Malaysia banned Israel from entering Malaysia to compete in an international Paralympic swimming championship. 

Last week, Malaysia condemned US President Donald Trump for his recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Syria’s Golan Heights region.


Rivals question front-runner Sanders’ electability at rowdy Democratic debate

Updated 27 min 50 sec ago

Rivals question front-runner Sanders’ electability at rowdy Democratic debate

  • ‘Bernie will lose to Donald Trump, and Donald Trump and the House and the Senate and some of the statehouses will all go red’
  • ‘I can tell you exactly how it all adds up. It adds up to four more years of Donald Trump’

CHARLESTON, South Carolina: Surging Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders came under withering fire in a boisterous debate in South Carolina on Tuesday, as rivals attacked the high cost of his ambitious economic agenda and warned he would cost the party the White House and control of Congress.

In a debate that featured candidates repeatedly shouting over one another and ignoring their time limits, Sanders’ opponents united in attacking the independent senator and self-avowed democratic socialist as a risky choice to lead Democrats against Republican President Donald Trump in November.

“Bernie will lose to Donald Trump, and Donald Trump and the House and the Senate and some of the statehouses will all go red,” billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, adding that would be “a catastrophe.”

Pete Buttigieg, the moderate former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, criticized Sanders for the shifting estimates on the costs of his proposals such as government-run health care and questioned how he could get his agenda passed.

“I can tell you exactly how it all adds up. It adds up to four more years of Donald Trump,” Buttigieg said, adding that a Sanders race against Trump would be devastating to the country.

“If you think the last four years has been chaotic, divisive, toxic, exhausting, imagine spending the better part of 2020 with Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump,” Buttigieg said.

Sanders defended his ability to pay for costly programs such as Medicare for All, which would replace private health insurance with a government-run program, and said he was raising issues supported by the American people.

“My favorability nationally, I believe, is the highest up here,” Sanders said in a reference to opinion polls, adding he beat Trump in most national surveys.

“If you want to beat Trump, what you’re going to need is an unprecedented grassroots movement of black and white and Latino, Native American and Asian, people who are standing up and fighting for justice. That’s what our movement is about,” Sanders said.

Sanders has taken command of the race after strong showings in the first three nominating contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, and the debate was the last chance for his opponents to try to stop his momentum before Saturday’s South Carolina primary and next week’s 14 vital Super Tuesday contests.

Even Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts and progressive ally of Sanders who is trying to revive a struggling campaign, took a swing at her old friend.

“I think I would make a better president than Bernie. And the reason for that is that getting a progressive agenda enacted is going to be really hard,” she said. “I dug in, I did the work, and then Bernie’s team trashed me.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar said neither Sanders nor Warren had shown the leadership in the Senate to accomplish much.

“It matters if you can actually get things done,” she said.