Civilisation, Interfaith, Peace & Security
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Monday, 12 February 2018 13:54

Israel's brand of terrorism

All across the globe, Israel has been called a terrorist state. Since its inception, the country has used its intelligence service (Mossad) to assassinate people on foreign soil.

In the Middle East, terror has been perpetrated by the Israeli authorities against the Palestinian people. However, they defend their actions as a “sign of strength” and “resilience”.

It is not a surprise that a few days after United States President Donald Trump called for the US embassy to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the Israelis again showed “strength”.

Mohammed Zeidan, director of Human Rights Association in Nazareth, said since that day, “seven minors have been seriously injured by Israelis forces”.

The US has turned a blind eye to Israel’s misuse of US-supplied tear gas, bulldozers and munitions to commit human rights violations against the Palestinians.

A Pennsylvania-based company, Combined Systems Incorporated, has for years, supplied Israel with tear gas, a non-lethal means for crowd dispersal and control.

“Israel has repeatedly used tear gas at close range on unarmed protesters who posed no threat to soldiers, often injuring and even killing them.

“There is a hyper-militarised culture of incitement and belligerence in Israel.”

Palestinians are still viewed by the state, and much of the Israeli public, as enemy combatants. A few years ago, Jerusalem’s Mayor Nir Barkat called on Israeli civilians who owned firearms to carry them at all times and be ready to use them.

Last week, Israeli member of parliament Oren Hazan verbally harassed Palestinian families from the Gaza Strip journeying by bus to visit imprisoned relatives in an Israeli prison, calling their sons “dogs” and “terrorists”.

He told them: “You educated your son to murder and we will show your son to the ground.”

Oren said the bus was carrying the families of “animals”.

Many Israeli politicians like Hazan have used psychological terrorism against the Palestinians through the worst humiliation and abuse imaginable.

Though most Palestinian political prisoners hail from the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, they are placed in prisons inside Israel, in direct contravention of international law. Families of Palestinian prisoners must, therefore, apply for hard-to-obtain permits to enter Israel and visit them, usually in buses organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Terrorism has been the hallmark of Israeli leaders, including Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ehud Barak, Benjamin Netanyahu and Ariel Sharon, among others.

Assassination of Palestinian leaders and intellectuals in Europe and the Middle East has happened for years.

Israel used chemical weapons in the attempt to assassinate Khalid Meshal, a Hamas leader, in Amman in 1997 on the orders of Netanyahu.

Israel was the “first, fundamental and only suspect in the suspicious death of Yasser Arafat”, based on the reports of Swiss and Russian scientists on a sample taken from the exhumed corpse of the Palestinian leader.

Although the cause of Arafat’s death has never been determined in real confidence, one can quote several Israeli leaders who stated that “killing Arafat is a viable option”.

Israeli violence is not limited to Palestinians but includes the assassination of the British minister, Lord Moyne, in 1944 in Cairo as planned by Shamir, a former Israeli prime minister. Another assassination, of the Swedish nobleman Count Folke Bernadotte on Sept 17, 1948, in Jerusalem, was alleged to be on the orders of Shamir.

Bernadotte’s sin was his recommendation, as the United Nations mediator, that Palestinian refugees who were driven out from their homes by Israel should be allowed to return.

This recommendation was the substance of the UN resolution 194, on Dec 11, 1948, stipulating the right of return for the Palestinian refugees as soon as possible.

The first deliberate act of shooting down a civilian airliner was carried out by Israel when a Libyan airliner was shot down by fighter jets over Sinai in February 1973, on the orders of Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, killing 107 passengers and its entire French crew.

Israeli terror was not restricted to Palestinians, Arabs and Europeans, but included its own closest supporter and ally, the US. In 1954, Israeli secret agents bombed Egyptian, American and British-owned civilian targets, cinemas, libraries and American educational centres. The attacks were blamed on the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian Communists, or “local nationalists” with the aim of creating a climate of sufficient violence and instability to induce the British government to maintain its occupying troops in Egypt’s Suez Canal zone.

Israel’s Mossad agents, too, were the ones who carried out the much-publicised assassinations of four Iranian scientists — Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan — between 2010 and 2012.

The noted British historian, Arnold Toynbee, in a 1961 lecture at McGill University, Canada, delivered to a largely Jewish audience, highlighted the crimes committed by Israel in the name of the Jews, thus: “The Jewish treatment of the Arabs in 1948 was as morally indefensible as the slaughter by the Nazis of six million Jews... The most tragic thing in human life is when people who have suffered impose suffering in their turn.”

The Palestinian people today are calling for a modicum of justice. This will not happen if we continue to condone Israel’s state-sponsored terrorism.

The writer is a Fulbright scholar and Japan Institute of International Affairs fellow, and a former lecturer of UiTM Shah Alam and International Islamic University Malaysia, Gombak.

Published in: New Straits Times, Friday 29 December 2017

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Monday, 26 February 2018 15:18

IP undermines equity, progress

Over the last few decades, people in the developing world have been rejecting the intellectual property (IP) regime as it has been increasingly imposed on them following the establishment of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including its trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPs) regime.

IP rights (IPRs) have been enforced through ostensible free-trade agreements (FTAs) and investment treaties among two or more partners.

Despite their ostensible rationale, the IP standards that rich country governments insist on have never been intended to maximise scientific progress and technological innovation. Rather, the IPR regime serves to maximise the profits of influential pharmaceutical and other companies by conferring them with exclusive monopoly rights.

In the pushback, initially led by Nelson Mandela soon after he became South African president under the new dispensation in 1994, developing countries have targeted access to essential medicines. Thus, the 2005 Indian law to conform to WTO’s TRIPs safeguarded access to generic equivalents, as allowed for by the public health exception to TRIPs.

However, WTO rules disallow Indian generic manufacturers from exporting their medicines to Africa and other poor countries lacking the necessary pharmaceutical manufacturing capacities and capabilities. Even if the African countries could produce the drugs domestically, they would be more expensive as they would lack the economies of scale required to lower costs in their relatively small economies.

In Innovation, Intellectual Property and Development, Joseph Stiglitz, Dean Baker and Arjun Jayadev have shown that the economic institutions and laws protecting knowledge in Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development economies not only poorly govern economic activity, but are also ill-suited to developing countries’ needs, especially the global commitment to achieving universal health care of Agenda 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals.

Ironically, while the case for more openness in sharing knowledge is compelling, “neo-liberals”, who typically claim the moral high ground in opposing monopolies and related market distortions, have effectively served to extend and strengthen property rights and attendant monopolies.

From an economic perspective, knowledge is considered a global public good, as the marginal cost of anyone using it is zero. Growth of knowledge can presumably improve wellbeing.

Despite lack of evidence, the IP advocacy argument has been that market forces “undersupply” knowledge owing to the poor incentives for research and innovation. The usual claim is that this “market failure” is best corrected by providing a private monopoly through property rights for new knowledge, for example through enforceable patent rights. Private IP protection is presumed to be the only way to reward, and thus encourage research and innovation.

The trio argue that the IP regime has been much more problematic than expected, even in rich countries. They show how the 2013 United States Supreme Court decision that naturally occurring genes cannot be patented has shown that the IP regime impedes, rather than stimulates research by limiting access to knowledge.

Following the ruling, innovation accelerated, leading to better diagnostic tests (for example, for genes related to breast cancer) at much lower cost. Stiglitz, Baker and Jayadev focus on three alternatives to motivate and finance research in the US context. First, through centralised mechanisms to directly support research. Second, by decentralising direct funding, for example via tax credits, government bodies or research foundations or institutions can reward successful innovations or findings.

The patent system rewards legal ownership of innovation, but impedes the use of that knowledge by others, thus reducing its potential benefits. Having a creative commons, for example open-source software, will maximise the flow of knowledge.

The authors recommend that developing economies use all these approaches to promote learning and innovation. They view the gap between developing and developed countries as involving a gap in knowledge comparable to the gap in resources.

Hence, to improve economic welfare in the world, they urge diffusion of knowledge from developed to developing countries, as conventional social scientists have urged as part of modernisation theory for more than half a century.

Often, dense “patent thickets”, requiring many patents, are increasingly stifling innovation. Payments to lawyers and patent investigators exceed those to scientific researchers in such cases, with research often oriented to extend, broaden and leverage monopoly rights due to patents.

One perverse consequence has been patent “trolling” by speculators who buy up patents, which they think has a chance of being necessary for any product or process innovation. Thus becoming gatekeepers like the mythical trolls, they effectively block innovation unless their price is met.

Ironically, while the case for more openness in sharing knowledge is compelling, “neo-liberals”, who claim the moral high ground in opposing monopolies and related market distortions, have effectively served to extend and strengthen property rights and attendant monopolies.

Powerful corporate and developed economy government lobbies have influenced the IP regime, for instance by opposing competing rights associated with nature, biodiversity or even traditional knowledge.

Hence, recent ostensible FTAs have extended IPRs to cover “biologics”, i.e. naturally occurring substances, such as insulin for those suffering from diabetes, which is derived from mammals.

Thus, over the last few decades, the evolving IP regime has erected more barriers to widespread use of new knowledge. The current IP regime serves to maximise profits for a few monopolies rather than the progress and welfare of the many.

Widespread strictly enforced IP protection is historically new. IP protections came late to the early industrialising economies, typically delayed to enable rapid “catch-up” industrialisation and technological change.

The “weightless economy” of data, information and knowledge is accounting for a growing share of economic value in the world.

Stiglitz, Baker and Jayadev argue that existing rules governing global knowledge serve as fetters that must be broken to reflect these realities. IPS

Published in: The New Straits Times, Thursday, 26 February 2018


Thursday, 12 July 2018 17:44

Hall Rental


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Thursday, 12 July 2018 13:13

Wahid Institute

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The Wahid Institute strives for a just and peaceful world by espousing a moderate and tolerant view of islam and working towards welfare for all.

Thursday, 12 July 2018 13:12

Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM)

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Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) is Malaysia's largest institution of higher learning in terms of size and population. It has experienced phenomenal growth since its inception in 1956 and it is still growing. Beside the main campus in Shah Alam, the university has expanded nationwide with 12 state campuses, 6 satellite campuses in Shah Alam, 11 state satellite campuses and 21 affiliated colleges. With this vast network and a workforce of 17,770, the university offers more than 500 academic programmes in a conducive and vibrant environment. It is also home to some 175,200 students.

CILEThe Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE)

The Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics (CILE) leads the reform and renewal of contemporary Islamic legal and ethical thought and behavior by contributing a sustainable ethical framework for addressing contemporary global challenges. CILE’s initiative is maintained by the production, dissemination and application of Islamic ethical thought and behavior. This is achieved by engaging scholars of text and scholars of context to bring about a transformative ethical school of thought.

soascis logoSultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS)

Sultan Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Centre for Islamic Studies (SOASCIS) was established on the 30th of September 2010 with the consent of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah. Its main objective is to produce graduates and scholars equipped with the necessary knowledge and expertise to lead the Muslim community in facing the changes and challenges of today’s world. This centre will also generate Islamic thinkers and intellectuals who can share and express their views and thoughts on contemporary issues.

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Securities Commission Malaysia

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Established on 1 March 1993 under the Securities Commission Act 1993, the SC is a self-funding statutory body with investigative and enforcement powers. It reports to the Minister of Finance and its accounts are tabled in Parliament annually.

Thursday, 12 July 2018 13:11

Rumi Forum


Rumi Forum

The principal goal of the Rumi Forum is to promote peace in the world and contribute to a peaceful coexistence of the adherents of different faiths, cultures, ethnicities and races. For that to be achieved, we believe that everyone must be respectful to the environment and to all creatures’ right to exist, believe in the sanctity of human rights and democracy and use all means at hand to make this coexistence possible. To this end, we promote education, exchange of information, opinions and expertise, with a special focus on including as diverse a range of viewpoints as possible in our activities. Our modest contribution to this universal aim consists of conferences, seminars, panel discussions, common projects, scholarships, publications, meetings, trips and several other activities.

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