Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Malaysia Condemns Israeli Raid On Gaza Aid Flotilla

PUTRAJAYA, May 31 (Bernama) -- Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO) chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad condemned Israel's interception of an aid flotilla bound for the blockaded Gaza Strip Monday.

"I feel very angry that the Israelis have used force against people totally unarmed. I am sure the Israelis will say that these people are carrying weapons. That is ridiculous," he told a media conference here.

"We have made certain that they are all non-combatant and they come from many parts of the world including America and Europe.

"Their intention is to travel in boats to deliver the supply to Gaza. They know that the Israelis may try to stop them, but we don't expect the Israelis to resort to such violence as to shoot with live bullets.

"The Israelis claim these people have sharp objects. I don't know what is meant by sharp objects," he said.

The flotilla, originally made up of nine ships, was organised by pro-Palestinian groups and a Turkish human rights organisation.

One of the ships, Mavi Marmara, was attacked by Israeli soldiers Monday morning, near Gaza, with two Malaysians -- a journalist and a cameraman from Astro Awani -- on board and their fate is still unknown.

However, six PGPO representatives who are in another ship, are safe.

Dr Mahathir said his order to the PGPO representatives was to go ahead and pull back if there is warning from the Israeli army.

Updating the location of the three PGPO ships, the former prime minister said they were still in the Mediterranean on the way to Gaza.

He said two ships broke down, thus making them a bit far behind to join the other six ships that gathered in Cyprus earlier.

"It will take at least three days for them (Malaysian ships) to reach Gaza," he added.

Asked on his message to United States President Barack Obama following the incident, Dr Mahathir said: "He could make promises during the elections like in Malaysia too. Especially when you thought you were not going to win, you made more promises. When you have won, you find that you cannot fulfill the promises.

"I have said this before. I never thought Obama would be able to do anything against Israel because when addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (IPAC), a Jewish lobby group, he was reported to have expressed continued support for Israel," he said.

Obama had previously said he was promoting a more stable and prosperous Middle East in the United States' long-term national security and economic interests.

Meanwhile, the Malay Consultative Council and 126 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will hold a peaceful demonstration and hand over a protest note against the Israeli aggression to the US embassy at 11am Tuesday.

At a press conference here Monday, Pertubuhan Peribumi Perkasa Malaysia (Perkasa) president Datuk Ibrahim Ali said they would also perform "hajat" prayers and hold a "tahlil" session at the Kampung Baru Mosque at 7.15 Tuesday where Dr Mahathir is also expected to attend.

Ibrahim said as Malaysia had no diplomatic relations with Israel, the rally organisers wanted the US ambassador here to pass on the protest note to the Israeli prime minister.

He said Israel had become arrogant and brutal because it was supported by the big powers, especially the US.

"I am urging all Malaysians who condemn such brutality and join our peaceful demonstration tomorrow," he said.

Among the NGOs involved are the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM) and Federation of Peninsular Malay Students (GPMS).

Umno Youth also strongly condemned the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla, saying the killing of the volunteers was committed in international waters and was against international law, thus proving that the "Israel Zionist regime is a brutal regime that has no respect for the law."

In a statement issued here Monday, the movement said the security reason given by Israel for the attack was totally unacceptable.

"How could these aid volunteers be regarded as a threat to Israel as they are on a humanitarian mission for the people of Gaza who have been suffering for long under Israel's economic sanctions," it said.

Umno Youth is urging the Malaysian Foreign Ministry to demand that the United Nations Security Council take the sternest action against Israel, and calling on the international community to condemn the atrocity.

Malaysian for Peace chairman Datuk Ahmad Zaki Zahid in condemning the attack, said: "The action of the Zionist regime will cause untold harm beyond the attack and will incite anger and hatred across the globe among Muslims and non-Muslims alike."

Ahmad Zaki prays for the aid flotilla not to be further harmed and that the people of Gaza will ultimately receive the aid that these brave individuals try to send to them.


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