To be fair, Mahathir had done both good and bad things during his “dictatorship”. And there was little doubt that he was one of the most outspoken leaders who had dared to criticize superpower like the United States. He was also seen as the champion of the Muslim world for slamming Israel. Mahathir’s hatred for the Jews was legendary, so much so he mocked the Jews as “hook-nosed”.
Mahathir has now returned as the Prime Minister of Malaysia for the second stint. He miraculously won the May 2018 general election. Currently on a 4-day working visit to New York, it seems the old Mahathir is back, based on what he has said at the United Nations General Assembly and other forums. It’s obvious the old man wanted to become a hero again, especially among the Muslim world.
He wanted to re-create back the good old glory days when he earned the respect and applause from third world countries for standing up against the Western nations. So he spoke against the big bully America who uses sanctions against any countries they dislike, like Iran. He also lectured the UN how to run its business – telling it to modify existing veto power to prevent abuses.
Short of declaring trade war with the European Union for banning the import of palm oil, Mahathir defended the commodity, arguably a big contributor to his country’s economy. The world’s oldest prime minister also claimed that the current situation in Jammu-Kashmir is a result of the lack of regard for the United Nations and its resolutions – indirectly blaming India.
Taking a page from his old playbook, the Malaysian leader had prepared his script hoping to emerge a saviour in the eyes of the Muslim world. Hence, he criticized Myanmar leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi for doing nothing against the Myanmar military’s so-called genocide of the Rohingya people and bashed United Nations for its inability to intervene in the Rohingya crisis.
In short, Mahathir has given a long lecture at the United Nations on how to run the world while his own backyard – Malaysia – is, hilariously, plunging deeper into racism, extremism, radicalization, discrimination and even terrorism under his leadership since May 9, 2018. But his script would be incomplete without a cheap jab at Israel’s brutality against the Palestinians, of course.
Yes, like a broken record since 1981, Mr. Mahathir said Malaysia cannot accept the blatant seizure of Palestinian land by Israel for their settlements as well as the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel. He said – “Muslims are accused of terrorism, even if they did nothing. Muslims everywhere have been oppressed, expelled from their countries and refused asylum.”
He said the creation of Israel by seizing Palestinian land and expelling its 90% Arab population had led to wars being fought in many countries. Mahathir said – “And now we have terrorism when there was none before or at least none on the present scale. Military action against acts of terrorism will not succeed. We need to identify the cause and remove it.”
Exactly what type of grass Mahathir has been smoking lately? He perhaps had forgotten today’s 2019, not 1989. He basically says that the source of terrorism is Israel. Without Israel, the world will be so peaceful and beautiful that even the God has to be retrenched. He talked as if Israel is responsible for ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and nearly 210 recognised terrorist organisations.
Perhaps Mahathir can explain why ISIS fears Israel, so much so that the terror group did not attack the supposedly evil Jewish community, but instead butchered fellow Muslim brothers and raped fellow Muslim sisters during their adventure in the Middle East? The old man should study the 1967 War and the birth of international terrorism.
Yes, everything started after the Six-Day War, the 1967 Arab-Israeli War otherwise known as the Third Arab–Israeli War, which was fought between 5 and 10 June 1967 by Israel and the neighbouring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Someone should tell Mahathir that before June 4, 1967, the Jewish people were forbidden from praying at the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site.
In fact, the Jews could not live in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, where their ancestors had built homes for thousands of years. Jews were forbidden to attend classes at the Hebrew University at Mt. Scopus. Heck, the Jews could not even seek medical care at the Hadassah Hospital on Mt. Scopus. So, it was the Jews who had been oppressed and expelled from their home.
Before 1967, the 6.5-million minority Jews in Israel couldn’t do all of the above because the Jewish areas had been captured – militarily – by Arabs following the 1948 Israel’s War of Independence, which would lead to the 1948 Arab-Israeli War – also known as the First Arab-Israeli War. The Arab Muslims, not Israel, were responsible for all the Palestinians’ problem today.
On 15 May, 1948, a combined forces of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Saudi Arabia attacked Israeli forces and Jewish settlements. When the Jordanian, then the strongest force of all, occupied the historic Jewish sites, they destroyed whatever leftovers of Judaism – including schools and cemetery. Guess what the Muslim world and the United Nations had done.
Between 1948 and 1967, the so-called world body United Nations had neither offered a single resolution condemning the invasion of the Jordanian occupation nor the cultural destruction. But when Israel finally won the Six-Day War, also known as the 1967 Arab-Israeli War or Third Arab-Israeli War, and reclaimed their lost areas, all hell breaks loose.
Nearly the entire Egyptian air force, caught by surprise of Israeli air supremacy, was destroyed. Actually, it was the Egyptian who mobilised its forces along its border with Israel that forced Israel to launch its pre-emptive strikes against Egyptian airfields. Yet, in spite of its humiliating losses, the Egyptian tricked and lured other Arab Muslim brothers into believing that Egypt had won.
In the end, Israeli counterattacks against the Arab alliance had resulted in the seizure of “East Jerusalem” as well as the “West Bank” from the Jordanians, while it’s retaliation against Syria resulted in its occupation of the “Golan Heights”. With tail between legs, the Arab forces lost 20,000 lives while fewer than 1,000 Israelis perished in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Is Mahathir trying to say that it’s alright for the Jewish lands to be invaded, occupied and destroyed by the Arab Muslims (between 1948 and 1967) but not alright for the Jews to defeat the Arab Muslims and reclaim its lost lands after close to 20 years (in 1967)? That’s the thinking of a sore loser, not to mention the mentality of a racist man, is it not?
So, when the Arab Muslims destroyed and killed the Jews, it’s their birthright. But when the Jews destroyed and killed the Arab Muslims, the Jews are condemned and called the brutal Zionist regime. In reality, after Israel declared its independence as a sovereign nation in 1948, it also declared Jerusalem as its capital – which is the right of any sovereign state.
The 94-year-old Mahathir appears to cherry pick post-1967 as his argument that Israel is the oppressor while Palestine is the oppressed. What happened between 1948 and 1967 is conveniently thrown out of the windows. The roots and practice of terrorism can be traced at least to the 1st-century AD, not during First Arab-Israeli War (1948-1967), and certainly not during the Third Arab–Israeli War (1967).
But the first modern international terrorism can be traced, arguably, to July 22, 1968, when the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) hijacked an Israeli El Al flight travelling from Rome to Tel Aviv. From 1968 through 1976, Palestinian groups would hijack a staggering 16 airplanes, and also attack other aviation targets such as El Al offices.
While hijacking was not new, it was the first time that the hijackers in 1968 sought to trade the passengers for Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel and proclaimed that a “civilian jet” was a legitimate target, arguing it was a symbol of the Israeli state. In 1972, the Black September Organization, a front for Yasser Arafat’s Fatah, even killed 11 Israeli athletes and a German policeman at the Munich Olympics.
As a clever man, Mahathir should be able to tell the difference between a war and an act of terrorism. The Arab Muslims won the First Arab-Israeli War (1948-1967), but too bad they lost the Third Arab–Israeli War in 1967 – and never recovered ever since. After the crushing Israeli victory, the Palestinians realised they cannot depend on their Arab brothers so they resorted to terrorism.
Yasser Arafat sought to emulate the successful Algeria revolt, where guerrillaseventually drove out the French after more than 100 years of colonization. Israel, however, knew such strategy and quickly suppressed an attempted Palestinian rebellion on the West Bank and, in the years that followed, crushed resistance in Gaza. This is the reason why the ISIS was so afraid of Israel.
Israel is arguably the only nation in the world with the most experience and success combating terrorism. ISIS used to pledge to conquer the Jewish state and incorporate it into its core caliphate. Israel’s approach to ISIS’ threats is straightforward. It successfully “persuades” the ISIS not to attack it by “credibly” threatening to retaliate.
Despite ISIS’ well known brutality, the terrorists knew very well what the Jewish people meant by “don’t cross the red line”. Past experience had taught the terror group that Israel will definitely retaliate 100% of the time. In essence, Israel makes sure their enemies get the message through three Cs – clarity, capability and credibility. They don’t issue empty threats.
Anyway, the fact remains that roughly 1-million Palestinians remained in Israel. They were not expelled from their home, as accused by Mahathir. In fact, the Palestinian citizens of Israel turned out in record numbers to vote in the Israeli election recently. By winning 13 seats and finishing third, the Palestinian Joint List has forced the Jewish parties to contend with Palestinians as a political force.
Sure, the minority Palestinians in Israel can never win enough to form the government in the country. But isn’t that the same as the minority ethnics Chinese and Hindus in Malaysia? Worse, Mahathir would use Indian Muslim extremist preacher like Zakir Naik to mock and insult the minorities whenever the premier likes? At least the Zionists didn’t tell the Palestinians to go back to Palestine, if such a nation ever exists.
Instead of foaming at the mouth slamming Israel, perhaps Mahathir should explain to the United Nations his brilliant opinion on why his Muslim brother – Saudi Arabia – spends billions of dollars slaughtering fellow Muslim men, women and children in the Yemeni War. Should not Saudi, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, attack the Zionist regime of Israel instead?
Why did Kuwait say Israel is NOT our enemy in 2015? Why has Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman become a friend of Israel, admitting that the Jews have the right to have their own country. Mahathir might be semi-senile, or pretends to be ignorant. But the Middle East is changing. Israel is no longer Arabs’ biggest enemy in the region.
Israel’s culture and sports minister, Miri Regev, toured the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi in 2018. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had made a historic visit to Oman. Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had an amicable meeting with Mr. Netanyahu. Bahrain went so far as to back Israel’s right to defend itself against Iranian aggression.
It’s an incredibly obsolete tactic to use Israel as a punching bag so that Mahathir could catapult himself as the champion of the Muslim world. Israel has made many Arab friends. Mahathir is still stuck in the 1980s mentality if he thinks he could spin the same boring (*yawn*) Israel-Palestine conflict to his advantage. No wonder very few listens to his babbling at the United Nations.
– Finance Twitter