The official and popular role of Malaysia is supportive of the Palestinian cause and defends it at the international and local forums, said Muslim Imran, head of the Palestinian Culture Organization in Malaysia (PICOM), pointing out that Malaysia is facing the crimes of the Israeli occupation with its rejection of normalization.
In an interview with the Palestinian Information Center, Imran said that Malaysia is resisting the wave of normalization that Israel is trying to promote in the Arab and Muslim countries and which succeeded in a number of countries.
He pointed out that the Great March of Return and the Israeli crimes are among the important factors that strengthened the Malaysian decision of rejecting normalization with Israel, as well as its rejection of Israeli violations and crimes against the peaceful protesters.
Imran noted that there has been a historic relationship between Malaysia and Palestine, noting, “since the independence of Malaysia in 1957 and until now, communications have been going on, through the time of first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, all the way to the current Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.” Imran thanked Malaysia for its political, material and moral support to the Palestinian people, which culminated in the visit of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mohammed Najib Abdul Razak to the Gaza Strip twice.
He pointed out that the relations have solidified and improved during the last ten years and the Malaysian support for the Palestinian cause, politically and diplomatically, has increased, attributing this to the Malaysian principle of standing in solidarity with Palestine and the efforts of the Palestinians in Malaysia to reach out to the Malaysian society.
He stressed that Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has brought the Palestinian issue back to the forefront of Malaysia’s political discourse. “Malaysian political, diplomatic and moral support at this stage is undoubtedly very important during a very critical phase of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”
He added: “Unfortunately, the Malaysian position of supporting Palestine is very prominent, at a time Arab and Muslim governments are pushing towards normalization with Israel,” stressing the need not to leave the Palestinian people alone in confronting the Israeli occupation.
He continued: “The Malaysian position to reject the participation of Israelis in the International Paralympics Swimming Championship stopped this wave of normalization,” highlighting the appreciation and thanks of the Palestinian people for this position.
Imran expressed the hope that the Malaysian position will encourage Arab and Muslim countries to reject normalization and work to confront the oppressors officially and publicly. “Malaysia has sacrificed an important international championship which supports its image internationally in return for supporting the Palestinian people.”
“The Arab states that are in direct contact with Palestine must maintain their historic commitment to support the struggle of the Palestinian people and to boycott the Israeli enemy,’ he said, stressing that the Palestinian presence in Malaysia has a real and significant value for Malaysians.
Great March of Return
Speaking of the Great March of Return and its importance to the Malaysian people, Imran stressed its presence in every forum connected with the Palestinian issue by publishing images of the martyrs and the Palestinian masses participating in the march at the Gaza borders, pointing out that it has greatly affected the Malaysian positions in support of the Palestinian people.
He added that “The Great March of Return and the crimes of the Israeli occupation are two important factors that strengthen Malaysia’s rejection of normalization with the Israeli occupation, and its rejection of Israeli violations against civilians participating peacefully in these marches.”
He continued: “The Malaysian Sports Minister personally talked about the martyrs of the Great March of Return and the fall of paramedics and journalists, such as Razan al-Najjar, who was snipped down by the occupation,” stressing the position of his country against normalization and the crimes of occupation.
Imran recalled the assassination and martyrdom of Palestinian scholar Dr. Fadi al-Batsh in Malaysia, saying: “Malaysia’s sympathy is still on the rise, especially since the Israeli crime of assassinating al-Batsh on Malaysian soil, which provoked the feelings of Malaysians who heard of assassinations and martyrs before, but this time, they saw it on their soil and how the enemy violated the sovereignty of their land and committed the crime.”
He added: “There is no doubt that this incident left a negative impression among the Malaysian people towards the Israeli enemy; and God willing, the day of revenge and holding those responsible to account will come.”
Impact of the Palestinian Community
“The Palestinian presence is compensating for the absence of communication with the occupied territories, by the direct interaction between the Palestinian community and the Malaysian political and media elites, as well as the civil society activists. This has resulted in official and strong stance that is sympathetic to the Palestinian issue, which was reinforced by the Malaysian principle of supporting the Palestinian people and rejecting normalization.”
He reviewed a number of official and popular meetings held with a number of Malaysian ministers and officials such as the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Sports, who stressed the official rejection of normalization with Israel, in addition to civil and popular institutions.
“These meetings and efforts resulted in Malaysian delegations heading to the occupied Palestinian territories as well as meetings with representatives of Palestinian governmental and private institutions in Malaysia to strengthen relations and develop medical and technical cadres that serve and support the Palestinian people,” he said.