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VIRTUAL OPEN-ENDED EXTRAORDINARY MEETING FOR THE OIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AT THE LEVEL OF THE FOREIGN MINISTERS
The Honourable Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia
Sunday, 16 May 2021
Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.
1. Thank you Your Highness for convening today’s very important meeting. Thank you Mr. Secretary-General for your frank assessment on the situation in Palestine.
2. Thank you also brother, Riyad al-Maliki, for your statement which should further strengthen our collective resolve to put an end to the tragic plight of the Palestinians. Your Highnesses, Your Excellencies, brothers and sisters, rest assured – Malaysia is resolute and unwavering in our stand with the people of Palestine. Rest assured, Malaysia stands with Palestine in these trying times.
3. We have seen what has happened on the ground – Palestinian civilians are dying, children and women have been attacked, homes and buildings have been destroyed completely.
4. What has happened is beyond description – it is contemptuous not only to Muslims around the world, but this is also an insult to humanity. We must be very clear with ourselves – what has happened in Gaza (as has happened before in the West Bank) are nothing but crimes against humanity, and the Israeli Zionist regime is to blame.
5. Today, we have to sincerely ask ourselves - “How many more Palestinians must die before the Muslim Ummah collectively and genuinely take concrete actions to end this oppression?”
6. ‘Lack of political will’ should no longer be tolerated as an excuse to perpetuate Israel’s occupation further. As we speak, more homes are being demolished, more deaths are occurring, and more misery is being inflicted on the Palestinians.
7. Malaysia takes the floor today to echo the strong views expressed around the table on the urgent need to take a bold action to salvage the situation on the ground.
8. While unintentional, we have shamefully contributed to encouraging the Occupying Power through our inaction. As we have witnessed, Israel continues to introduce more repressive policies, and it continues to commit atrocious crimes with greater impunity.
9. It is clear – the bloodshed committed against the Palestinians must end. Israel’s impunity in committing untold atrocities must end. Israel, as perpetrators of these heinous crimes, must also be held accountable. The truth of the matter is that Palestinians are the victims here, no one else compares proportionately to what the Palestinians have suffered as a result of Israel’s brazen acts.
10. Many around the world still mistakenly believe that it is the Palestinians who provoked Israel, but case in point was the event just a few days ago – during the holy month of Ramadhan. Just as our brothers and sisters were performing their Teraweeh prayers, Israel invaded and attacked the worshippers. I ask myself everyday ever since - Obviously they were there not to fight but to pray, so how is this fair?
11. Malaysia has continuously and consistently condemned in the strongest terms the incursion and attacks against Palestinian civilians and worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque. We also condemn in the strongest terms all forced evictions of Palestinians from their homes, and Israel’s continued military airstrikes on the Gaza Strip since last week.
12. These atrocious, disproportionate, and excessive attacks by Israel are in total and blatant disregard of all international laws. Furthermore, these acts are in violation of the United Nations (UN) Charter, and a war crime under the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention.
13. While Malaysia has strongly and publicly demanded Israel to immediately cease its hostilities and attacks against Palestine, the international community cannot choose to remain silent and oblivious.
14. It is an insult when other countries come out and speak about the right of Israel to self-defence, and not a single word about the Palestinian rights when they are the ones slaughtered, and they are the ones who have been occupied for over 50 years.
15. Malaysia wishes to make six (6) recommendations.
16. Firstly, the OIC needs to urge the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to rectify its failures, and shoulder its responsibility in maintaining peace and security. The OIC needs to pressure the UNSC to act urgently, enforce its resolutions, and uphold the rule of law. Israel must be made to fully comply with all its obligations as prescribed by relevant UNSC resolutions, including Resolution 2334 and international law, as well as the Charter of the United Nations.
17. Thus far, many Malaysians, including myself, are disappointed by the United Nations Security Council’s inability to immediately halt Israel’s escalation of violence against Palestinians. To date, the UNSC has not even issued any single statement on the current situation in Palestine. This is distressing, as the UNSC should never be blocked from exercising its mandate on the situation in Palestine.
18. Secondly, in ensuring the safety of our brothers and sisters in Palestine, the OIC needs to urge the UN to provide international protection for all in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. However, we cannot simply wait for the United Nations to act while more are killed – can’t we in the OIC immediately step up to the plate and help the Palestinians in any way possible? We cannot just keep talking, we must show the world that Muslim nations are here to help.
19. Third, the international community, particularly OIC Member States, should robustly pursue all legal, political, and economic channels to pressure Israel. On this front, Malaysia has recently worked closely with Indonesia and Brunei to jointly condemn the Israeli attacks. My Prime Minister, along with His Majesty Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam and President Joko Widodo of Indonesia – leaders of over 250 million Muslims in Southeast Asia – will jointly call for Israel to immediately stop its aggression across the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
20. Fourth, OIC Member States need to urge civil societies worldwide to continue their struggle to call for accountability and highlight gross violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights laws. Their role is vital in shaping public opinion and providing pressure from the bottom up. I have also personally witnessed, and praise the efforts of many Malaysians who are relentlessly condemning atrocities against the Palestinian people online. This is to ensure that the oppression of the Palestinian people can be understood throughout our country and region, despite the efforts of some others to label Palestinians as terrorists.
21. Fifth, while addressing the current crisis, the international community must continue to find a lasting solution to the conflict. We must act urgently to address the root cause of the conflict and return to a meaningful peace process to end the Israeli occupation.
22. Sixth and finally, Malaysia stresses the importance for all OIC Member States to remain united in supporting the plight of the Palestinians. Without unity, the Muslim Ummah will falter into disarray and belies the very reason for establishing this esteemed organisation in the first place.
23. The future of Palestine looks even bleaker than before. Should we choose to remain indifferent today, we will end up paying a higher price for the conflict in the future.
24. We must continue striving for freedom, independence and justice for our oppressed brothers and sisters in Palestine.
25. Peace in the region cannot be realized without an independent State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital. This is the only viable solution to the Palestinian-Israel conflict. There is no peace otherwise, there can never be peace with a state of temporary borders.
Your Highness, Your Excellencies, Brothers and Sisters,
26. I wish to conclude by reaffirming that Malaysia will continue to stand in strong solidarity with the people of Palestine in the wake of Israeli aggression, and that our support for the Palestinians remains steadfast.
27. To this end, I believe and remain convinced that the OIC must continue to play a central role to take all maximum possible efforts to protect Palestinians against Israel’s hostile acts. May Allah SWT bless our efforts, and may the dawn of freedom and peace prevail for our brothers and sisters in Palestine. InshaAllah.
Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.