World Divided on Israel-Palestine Conflict, Malaysia Can Be a Unifying Force

One way that Malaysia can bring the two sides together for talks is to host a peace conference. Malaysia has a long history of hosting peace talks between warring factions

World Divided on Israel-Palestine Conflict, Malaysia Can Be a Unifying Force

Article by Dr Ahmad Zaharuddin Sani Sabri, a former director at the Institute of Tun Dr Mahathir Thoughts

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has lasted almost a century. For decades, the two sides have been locked in a cycle of violence and vengeance that has resulted in immeasurable suffering, particularly for the Palestinian people.

The dispute began in the late nineteenth century when Zionists aspired to establish a Jewish state in Ottoman-controlled Palestine. The British government's Balfour Declaration of 1917 approved the notion of a Jewish state in Palestine, resulting in an inflow of Jewish immigration to the region. Following WWII and the Holocaust, worldwide pressure grew for the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine, resulting in the founding of Israel in 1948.

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The creation of Israel resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, who became refugees, resulting in a decades-long struggle between Israel and the Palestinian people. The Palestinians want to create their independent state in at least a portion of ancient Palestine, while Israel wants to keep its boundaries and sovereignty over the West Bank.

The battle has generated a schism among Palestinians, with some supporting the left wing like Hamas and others opposing it. The international community has also been split on the subject, with some countries backing Israel and others supporting Palestine. This schism has made it impossible to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.

Malaysia and the Palestinian cause

Malaysia has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause and has taken several steps to help ease the conflict in the region. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has called Israeli actions "the height of barbarism". The Dewan Rakyat (Malaysian Parliament) has also debated the role of Malaysia in helping to unify the Palestinian people. However, the U.S. has pressured Malaysia to shift its stance on Hamas.

The country has taken a more nuanced approach to the conflict. In 2014, for example, Malaysia abstained from a vote in the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the State of Israel. This decision was criticized by some, but it was also seen as a sign that Malaysia was trying to find a way to bridge the divide between the two sides.

As a nation that champions human rights and peace, Malaysia has a unique opportunity to play a transformative role in saving Palestinians from the current war. To make a significant impact, Malaysia could adopt a radical approach that combines diplomatic initiatives, humanitarian aid, and international collaboration.

To champion this issue and become a moderate Islamic country, Malaysia can continue to support the Palestinian cause through diplomatic channels. Malaysia can also work with other countries to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Malaysia needs to maintain its stance on the issue and not be swayed by external pressures.

Photo by Ahmed Abu Hameeda / Unsplash

Peace Conference

One way that Malaysia can bring the two sides together for talks is to host a peace conference. Malaysia has a long history of hosting peace talks between warring factions. In 2001, for example, Malaysia hosted a peace conference between the Philippine government and the Moro National Liberation Front. This peace conference led to the signing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which has helped to bring peace to the southern Philippines.

Malaysia can play a significant role in addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by leveraging its diplomatic and economic influence. One of the ways Malaysia can help is by pressuring the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations (UN) to take action. 

Malaysia can also provide medical aid and food supplies(humanitarian assistance) to the affected regions. Additionally, Malaysia can collaborate with other countries and organizations to provide financial assistance and humanitarian aid. The Palestinian economy has been devastated by the conflict, and millions of Palestinians need food, water, and shelter. Malaysia can provide financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority to help it provide basic services to its people. Malaysia can also provide humanitarian assistance to Palestinian refugees.

Malaysia can work with neighbouring countries and aid organizations to establish safe corridors for humanitarian aid. These corridors would ensure the unimpeded flow of assistance to areas most affected by the conflict, thereby alleviating human suffering and fortifying the resilience of Palestinian communities.

Economic and political pressure

A bit of a radical approach is to exert pressure on the economy of Israel, which is Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS): Malaysia can support the BDS movement that seeks to impose economic and political pressure on Israel. By urging Malaysian businesses and citizens to boycott Israeli goods and investments, it can send a resounding message of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Malaysia also can suggest Peacekeeping Operations: Malaysia has a well-regarded history of participating in peacekeeping missions under the United Nations. It can offer its peacekeeping expertise by deploying troops as part of a UN-sanctioned force to de-escalate tensions and protect Palestinian civilians.

Finally, Malaysia can work to promote understanding and tolerance between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples. This can be done through education and cultural exchanges. Malaysia can also work to build bridges between the two communities through religious dialogue and other initiatives.

By taking these steps, Malaysia can help alleviate the suffering of those affected by the conflict and contribute to the global effort to address humanitarian issues.

Unifying factor

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a long-standing issue that has set the Palestinian people and the international community apart. Though the current Israeli attacks on Hamas have brought more support for the Palestinians globally, more needs to be done to save the Palestinian people.

Malaysia has been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause and can continue to play a role in unifying the Palestinian people. By working with other countries and maintaining its stance on the issue, Malaysia can become a champion on this issue and help bring peace to the region.

Through these measures, Malaysia can leverage its position as a global advocate for justice and peace to contribute significantly to alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian people and promoting a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.