Kuala Lumpur: Ascertaining the cause is one thing but finding the solution is quite another for panellists and participants at The Palestine-Kashmir Forum: The Struggle for Freedom & Self Determination, as the question that hit hardest and most lingered on was ‘What more can we do?’
It was posed during a question-and-answer session by a participant who acknowledged all the points raised and debated by the panellists but was unconvinced on the plan forward in terms of protecting the rights of Palestinians and Kashmiris for self-determination in the face of hostile forces.
In her keynote address at the forum held at the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) on Monday, Pakistan High Commissioner to Malaysia, Amna Baloch, described the Indian government’s action on Kashmir as crossing all lines of cruelty after sending thousands of troops there upon withdrawing Kashmir’s special status.
“Kashmir is burning,” she said, referring to a communication shutdown that brought daily life to a standstill and contributed to a shortage of commodities. Soldiers targeted Kashmiri youths, sending those arrested to distant locations outside the territory despite protests from some of India’s well-known opposition leaders and non-governmental organisations.
To recap, the government of India revoked the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir on Aug 5 this year. Article 370 conferred power on Jammu and Kashmir to have a separate constitution, a state flag and autonomy over the internal administration of the state.
Now no longer bound by the article, Kashmir is ruled directly from New Delhi. However, some including Amna’s deputy, Atif Sharif Mian, believe that India was planning to annex the territory by revoking Kashmir’s special status.
However, revoking the special status would permit outsiders to reside in the territory which could reduce and replace the Muslims as the majority populace there. With such a demographic change, Kashmir would no longer be a majority Muslim state which may be the intent.
As for Palestine, Director for Palestine Cultural Organisation Malaysia, Muslim Imran, said that US President Donald Trump’s adminisration has only worsened the situation for Palestinians by declaring Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel while the Jewish nation continued to usurp Palestinian land.
Trump also became the first US president to stop funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees.
Other developments that hamper the Palestinian cause come from Arab countries themselves attempting to normalise relations with Israel and the failure among Palestinian factions to establish a unified platform.
Despite that, Palestinian resistance endures because the Palestinians themselves are fighting Israel’s subjugation and oppression while the BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement has so far been more and more successful.
Talking among the panellists, the president of the Malaysian Consultative Council For Islamic Organisation, Azmi Abdul Hamid, made a stark observation — that 1.8 billion Muslims can make a difference but are hesitant due to the narrative that Muslims can’t do much.
“Muslims have the will to not go down (easily). They must speak about oppression like we are doing through this forum. Don’t wait for government to act,” he said
Back to the question of “what more can we do?” Being united as an ummah is one, continuing to support BDS and trying to seek ways to reconcile one another’s interest despite differing opinions and methods is another.
To that is another question — do Muslims have the will to do so?
Published in: The New Straits Times, Wednesday 16 October 2019
The event was held at IAIS Malaysia on 14 October 2019, click here for more information about the event.
A TRUCE to last some 72 hours has started in Gaza and the Israeli army is being pulled back to the borders. Brokered by Egypt, the ceasefire should allow some breathing space for Gazans to bury their dead — if they can find space for them — salvage whatever they can and stock up on supplies in case talks break down and they are back to square one. According to the latest reports, Gazans remain nervous; fearing the worst. However, after declaring that they have achieved their objective of destroying the tunnels, Zionist Israel has begun pulling back their army, but not before perpetrating a long list of war crimes, including the latest attack on the United Nations (UN) school-cum-shelter, which drew condemnation even from their allies, especially the French.
After four weeks of ceaselessly pounding Gaza and killing more than 1,800 Palestinians, mainly civilians, the world leaders have suddenly woken up to the grizzly reality of Tel Aviv’s “defensive” action against the defenceless. Not that the Israeli-friendly governments and the UN have stopped blaming Hamas, firstly, for triggering this latest assault by the occupying power and, secondly, for raining rockets on an Iron Dome-protected Israel. Against such blatant bias, how can there be a lasting peace? Instead, if the statement of the French foreign minister is anything to go by, the intransigence of both parties has become an excuse for calls for the international community to impose peace. There are even suggestions that it revert to some form of mandated territory administered by the UN, which is not the solution desired by Palestinians surely, who expect self-determination in a sovereign Palestine.
Not too many days ago, Malaysia’s deputy prime minister called for supranational organisations, including the UN Security Council and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to act or lose their legitimacy. The Security Council has voiced its support for an immediate halt on attacks that have taken a high civilian toll, especially on Gaza’s children. This, however, did not take the form of binding resolutions. The UN General Assembly will also be convening to figure out a solution. Meanwhile in Teheran, the foreign ministers of the Non-Aligned Movement’s Palestinian Committee are meeting. The committee, consisting of Algeria, Bangladesh, Cuba, Iran, Egypt, India, Senegal, South Africa, Palestine, Zimbabwe, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been urged by the Iranian president to focus on working out practical ways of helping the people of Gaza whom he says are “caught in a web of colonial plots”.
In short, while the world has awoken to the need to pressure Israel to stop the bloodbath, the voice is not homogenous. Rather, the agendas being pursued may not match the aspirations of the Palestinians, in both Gaza and the West Bank. Israel, however, has managed to exact its extreme and indiscriminate punishment on Palestine with impunity once again.
Every morning when I listen to the news update about Gaza I stop breathing. I couldn’t breathe last Wednesday when I read that four Palestinian children were killed while playing soccer on the beach; I couldn’t breathe two days later when I heard that three Palestinian children were killed while feeding their ducks on the roof; and I couldn’t breathe yesterday when a strike hit the building of the Abu Jameh family killing 26 people—19 of them children ages 4 months to 14 years—while they were gathered for breaking the Ramadan fast. I often weep and wonder how fellow Palestinians living under the most brutal military occupation imaginable can endure these horrors over and over and over again. Do Palestinians have a right to life?......................Click here to Read More
THE year 2014 has been designated as an International Year of Solidarity for the Palestinian People. Last year, the General Assembly just barely managed to scrape up enough support to adopt (by a vote of 110 in favour, seven against, and 56 countries abstaining) resolution A/Res/68/12 to proclaim 2014 as Palestine’s year. The resolution came on the heels of two consecutive years of Palestine making ripples within the United Nations — first in requesting for full membership to the UN, and then in gaining admittance to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco)......................Download the full article in pdf attachment (below)