January 24, 2013
Najib’s Foreign Policy Gaffe
Malaysian Prime Minister in GAZA
By Khaidir A. Majid| firstname.lastname@example.org
SOLIDARITY WITH PALESTINIANS: PM regrets Israeli air restrictions made him unable to visit West Bank
CAIRO: PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said his ground-breaking visit to Gaza on Tuesday was humanitarian in nature and should not be misconstrued as an interference into the domestic affairs of Palestine.
Najib said he would have visited the Fatah-ruled West Bank if not for the constraints placed by Israel’s air control over the Palestinian Territories.
“It was my every intention to also visit Ramallah (de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority) but since I have to fly to get there and the sky is controlled by Israel, I could not make the trip,” he said at the end of his three-day visit to Gaza and Egypt.
For Israel to give permission to fly into Ramallah would have meant that Malaysia would have to recognise Tel Aviv. Najib was asked to comment on reports that his visit to the Hamas-controlled Gaza on Tuesday — the first by a Malaysian Prime Minister — had drawn reactions from the office of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Najib said he had spoken to Abbas over the phone before leaving for Cairo onward to Gaza to explain the humanitarian nature of his visit and again met Palestinian Waqf Minister Mahmoud Al-Habash of Fatah in Cairo on Tuesday night to do the same.
“My visit to Gaza was purely humanitarian and we wanted to show our solidarity and support for the Palestinian cause. It was also to show support to Fatah and Hamas for their quest to form a unity government as soon as possible,” he said, adding that Gaza was now an issue because it bore the brunt of Israel’s eight-day aggression last November.
“I had the opportunity to see the destruction caused by this aggression and clearly saw that the targets had no significant military value.”
Asked how he felt after making the risky visit to a conflict area, Najib said he had wanted to visit Palestine “for a long time”.
“I had followed the Palestinian issue for a very long time and it is close to my heart because I had in the past adopted two Palestinian children.”
Najib had supported the children until the programme ended with the death of Dr Elijah Gordon of the Malaysian Social Research Institute.
“I had sent money to the children every month since I was at the Education Ministry and later at the Defence Ministry.I would have looked for my adopted children during my visit but it is impossible to locate them. They are probably in the West Bank.”
Najib expressed satisfaction over his Gaza trip, saying he was happy that he could represent Malaysians who had for so long provided assistance and shown strong support for the Palestinians.
Najib also expressed his condolences to the family of a Malaysian killed in the hostage drama in Algeria. “I sympathise with the family for the tragedy. This is something that can happen (to anyone) and very hard to predict. I hope the families (involved) will remain strong in facing this test.”
Najib said there had been discouraging reports about the fate of the Malaysian still missing, but Wisma Putra was monitoring the situation closely.
Najib left for Davos yesterday to attend the World Economic Forum.
A Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak with Egyptian President (right)
Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas denounced Najib’s Visit to HAMAS in GAZA
Wednesday, 23 January 2013
by Al Arabiya with AFP
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas denounced on Wednesday the Malaysian Prime Minister’s recent visit to Gaza, saying that it “enhances division and does not serve the Palestinian interests,” reported local news agency WAFA.
“The Palestinian Presidency announces its rejection and condemnation of the Malaysian Prime Minister’s visit to Gaza,” a statement said.
Abbas’s bureau called on the Malaysian government to provide “clarification,” saying that Prime Minister Najib Razak called Abbas earlier and told him that Malaysia was going to provide humanitarian aid to the strip, and that he will meet a Palestinian delegation in Cairo afterwards. “[The visit] undermines Palestinian representation and reinforces the division and does not serve Palestinian interests,” it continued.
The bureau considered the visit a contribution to a conspiracy aiming to “divide the Palestinian land;” one that “serves Israeli plans to keep Jerusalem isolated from the Palestinian state,” the agency reported.
On Tuesday, the Malaysian Prime Minister pledged solidarity with the Palestinians on his first trip to Gaza, throwing his support behind reconciliation efforts between Hamas and Fatah.
Najib, who entered via the Rafah crossing from Egypt with Foreign Minister Anifah Aman and other officials, was met by Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya.
Speaking shortly after his arrival, Najib said his visit was intended “to show solidarity and our support for the struggle of the Palestinian people.”
“We may come from thousands of miles away … but we are one Ummah (Muslim people) and we believe in the struggle of the Palestinian people,” he said.
Najib also expressed support for renewed reconciliation efforts between the Islamist movement Hamas and the rival Fatah party, including attempts to form a consensus government to pave the way for new elections.
Amid criticism of his visit from Fatah headed by President Abbas, Najib said a unity government would be a good “response” to Israeli elections which were under way on Tuesday.
“We believe in this unity government and we pray to Allah that the talks will be successful and a united government will become a reality in the near future,” Najib said.
Haniya commented on the vote, warning that “the trend of the Israeli elections suggests a move from an extremist government to a more extreme government.”
“This requires us as Palestinians, and Arabs, and Muslims, to build a unified strategy to confront rising Zionist extremism.”
Abbas condemns Malaysian PM’s visit to Gaza
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 11:45
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the visit to the Gaza Strip by Malaysia’s Prime Minister. Mohammad Najib spent several hours in Gaza on Tuesday for what he described as a “humanitarian mission”. According to Abbas, however, the visit did not serve Palestinian interests, violated Palestinian representation protocols and reinforced the Palestinian division. His office has demanded clarification from the Malaysian government.
“The Malaysian Prime Minister called President Mahmoud Abbas and informed him that he would send humanitarian aid materials to Gaza and the West Bank, and that he would meet with a Palestinian delegation in Cairo,” said a statement from Ramallah. “This raises question marks and surprise at the visit, which contributes to a conspiracy to divide the Palestinian homeland and serves the plots that aim to keep Jerusalem isolated from the Palestinian state, the legitimacy of which was recognised by the entire world on 29 November, 2012.”
The President’s statement was published by the official Palestinian news agency. It called on “all friends and brothers to contribute to embody the UN resolutions for establishing a unified Palestinian state with Al Quds Al Sharif [Jerusalem] as its capital.”
Speaking at a press conference with Prime Minister Najib, the head of the Palestinian government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, predicted that the Israeli election will lead to a more extremist government in Tel Aviv. The Palestinian Prime Minister called on all Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims to build a unified strategy to confront what he called “Zionist extremism”.