Sending powerful message with Malaysian mission in Palestine

Sheridan Mahavera Yvonne Lim

A protester holding the Palestinian national flag during a demonstration in the village of Sur Baher, the West Bank. Malaysia will join 40 nations to have a diplomatic presence in the Palestinian territories. – EPA pic, August 2, 2019.

MALAYSIA is in the midst of opening an embassy in Palestine, one of the few nations to open a foreign mission in the Israeli occupied Middle-East territory.

Foreign Affairs Minister Saifuddin Abdullah told The Malaysian Insight Malaysia is taking this bold step after the United States and several of its allies broke with international norms and moved their embassies to Jerusalem in late 2017.   

Jerusalem, a city holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, is claimed by both Israel and a future Palestinian state as part of a two-state negotiated peace process to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

But in 2017, Israel’s ultra-conservative government unilaterally claimed the city as its capital.

“We want to be more proactive in our international work. We don’t just wait for things to happen. 

“In Palestine’s context, we have registered our intention to open an embassy in Palestine.

“Our Palestinian brothers and sisters are very happy that as the Americans and some other nations recognise Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel, Malaysia suddenly comes out and says we want to open an embassy in Palestine,” Saifuddin said in a special interview segment called Menteri in my MyVi.

Saifuddin, however, admits that the logistics behind the venture would be challenging given that Israel controls entry into the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank.

Right-wing Israeli youth marching into the Damascus Gate in East Jerusalem and entering the Old City’s Muslim Quarter as they make their way to the Western Wall during celebrations marking Jerusalem Day. Israel claims the city of Jerusalem was ‘reunified’ but Palestinians reject that and insist they live under occupation in East Jerusalem. – EPA pic, August 2, 2019.

It has also not been decided whether the embassy will be set up in Gaza, which is administered by the Hamas political party, or the West Bank which is controlled by the Palestinian Liberation Organisation.

“It’s a political statement but with real intentions while at the same time, we know it’s going to a be a hell of a job as far as logistics is concerned,” Saifuddin said.

Currently, only 40 nations have diplomatic missions in the Palestinian territories, while Malaysia will be the only Asean country to have one.

Showing that we care

Saifuddin also announced that Wisma Putra is in the process of reactivating some if its embassies which have gone dormant due to civil conflicts breaking out in the host countries.

These are in Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and North Korea. The North Korean embassy was vacated following the murder of Kim Jong-nam on Malaysian soil by agents of that country, while the other four became inactive because of the outbreak of war.

Saifuddin said reopening the missions would send positive signals to these countries once hostilities cease and they start rebuilding.

“I have given instructions to our officers that we should start planning to reopen, the idea is that we have to send positive signals to our friends. We may not have a full force but we may want to start with one or two personnel.

“In some countries where we are not active, they may already started or soon to start, their rebuilding and reconstruction process and you don’t want to miss the boat. So our presence must be real.

“What is important is that we send the right message. We need to show that we are serious about our bilateral relations. That we care, that we are there even while things are bad. That message must be sent to them.” – August 2, 2019.

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  • By having an office there, what are the possibilities commerce activities??

    Posted 4 years ago by Teruna Kelana · Reply