Islamic nations not using their strength against Israel, says Dr Mahathir

Salhan K. Ahmad Noel Achariam

Former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad says if all Muslim countries work together to condemn Israel, the effort will have an impact. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Nazir Sufari, May 24, 2021.

ISLAMIC nations are not using their strength to oppose the aggression by Israel because of self-interests, said Dr Mahathir Mohamad.  

The Perdana Global Peace Foundation president regretted that trade organisations and Islamic countries could not put up a common stance to pressure Israel. 

“It’s just a stand, instead of going to war. You will not suffer anything. Just state your position with a united voice. 

“We have the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation), we have the Arab League and all that. 

“But what are they doing? What have they said? Nothing,” said the 95-year-old during an interview with The Malaysian Insight at his office in Putrajaya recently. 

He believes if all the Muslim countries worked together to condemn Israel, the effort will have an impact. 

“Right now there are those who do not want to get involved. Some are isolated. There are even those who support Israel,” he added without naming any country. 

The OIC has a permanent representation to the United Nations (UN) that guarantees national peace and security around the world.

The body, however, did not issue any public statements to pressure Israel after it attacked shelled Palestinian settlements earlier this month.

According to the UN, the attacks since May 10 have killed 242 Palestinians comprising 23 girls, 43 boys, 38 women and 138 adult men. 

The 11-day attack by the Israeli regime destroyed 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip, including the office buildings of media organisations, hospitals, damaging various basic facilities. 

UN human rights experts have called for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into violations including on apartheid crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Commenting on the development, Dr Mahathir said the Muslim-majority states should have taken a firmer stance on the Palestinian issue to pressure Israel. 

“On the Palestinian issue, we must have the same stand. With that we can press other countries. 

“In addition, the Islamic countries must also use their wealth and influence as a large market and also as a petroleum producer in suppressing great power.” 

He said that although these Muslim-majority countries are rich, it is not using their wealth to aid the Palestinian cause. 

“Do we use the money to defend Muslims or do we just want to live luxuriously? 

“Third, we have a market of 1.7 billion people. We can use the market to pressure other countries so that they will help us. 

“Maybe a boycott, maybe another way can be done. When we become a big market, we have power,” he added. 

He gave an example of the greater role that the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec), which is made up of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela, should play. 

He said that Opec consists of many Muslim-majority countries but it is not using their influence to pressure Israel. 

Some Muslims, said Dr Mahathir, cause problems for the countries that are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. 

“Although these countries in Europe are not Muslim majority they sympathise with us. But what do we do?

“We run to Europe and cause trouble by bombing this and that. This is not helping us make friends,” said the former prime minister. 

“I have said this many times.” 

Dr Mahathir, who aspires to make war a crime, said that attacks and killings should not be retaliated by sacrificing more lives. 

“Killing others does make us smarter. We cannot go to war just because we are angry. 

“They kill our people and we retaliate by killing their people. Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter who we kill and we even kill people who have nothing to do with the problem,” he added. – May 24, 2021.

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