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LETTER | The Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra) acknowledges the chairperson's statement issued on Sept 5 by Asean leaders at its 43rd summit meeting in Jakarta on the Middle East situation, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

While we recognise the importance of diplomatic efforts in promoting peace and stability in the region, we wish to express our concerns regarding the approach adopted to address this complex issue.

Centhra shares the leaders' concerns for developments in the Middle East and their commitments to finding comprehensive, just and sustainable solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We believe a peaceful resolution is crucial for the well-being and stability of the Middle East and its people.

However, we are deeply disappointed with the tone of the chairman's statement which affirmed the two-state solution as the best answer to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

We believe that this issue requires a more proactive and robust stance.

Our concerns are as follows:

The Two-State Solution: While the chairman's statement calls for the realisation of two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace and security based on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, we are concerned that this approach does not adequately reflect the current realities on the ground.

The two-state solution is seen by many as unviable due to ongoing Israeli actions and territorial expansion.

Violations of international Law: We echo the concerns of those who argue that continuous discussions on the two-state solution may inadvertently provide a diplomatic smokescreen for Israel's alleged violations of international law, including its occupation of Palestinian territories.

Centhra calls for a more forceful commitment to the principles of international law and the rights of the Palestinians.

Israel has become an Apartheid state: The chairman's statement fails to address that Israel has become an apartheid state. Some view this as a natural outcome of the settler-colonialist nature of the Zionist ideology. We believe that Asean member states, many of which have experienced colonialism themselves, should express their support for the Palestinian people in the context of an anti-colonial struggle.

Malaysia's Role: We express our dismay over the Malaysian prime minister's alignment with the Asean statement on Palestine. Given Malaysia's historical commitment to self-determination and human rights, we urge the prime minister to reconsider and take a more resolute stance against Israeli apartheid. The call for such a stance is grounded in a firm commitment to upholding international law, human rights and justice which have long been at the core of Malaysia's foreign policy.

Israel's actions in the occupied Palestinian territories have raised serious concerns and have been the subject of numerous United Nations resolutions, international laws and ongoing investigations by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Some notable breaches and violations include:

1. Settlement Expansion: Israel's consistent expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and Resolution 338, which call for the withdrawal of Israeli forces from territories occupied during the 1967 Six-Day War. These settlements not only breach international law but also undermine the viability of a future Palestinian state.

2. Annexation of East Jerusalem: Israel's unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem, including its declaration of Jerusalem as its capital, has been widely condemned by the international community. It contravenes international law, including United Nations Security Council Resolution 478, which deems Israel's actions null and void and calls on member states to withdraw their diplomatic missions from Jerusalem.

3. Gaza Blockade: The prolonged blockade of the Gaza Strip has resulted in severe humanitarian crises, affecting the fundamental rights and well-being of the Palestinian population. This blockade has been condemned by various human rights organisations and is considered a breach of international humanitarian law.

4. Ongoing ICC Investigations: The ICC has initiated investigations into alleged crimes committed in the occupied Palestinian territories, including alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes by Israeli forces. These investigations are ongoing and reflect the seriousness of the allegations against Israel.

5. Genocide: Prominent international figures and legal experts have raised concerns about the possibility of genocide against Palestinians. While this is a complex and contentious issue, it underscores the gravity of the situation in the region and the need for international attention.

Given these breaches of UN resolutions, violations of international laws and the ongoing ICC investigations into alleged crimes against humanity, it is imperative that Malaysia, as a staunch advocate for self-determination and human rights, takes a resolute stance against Israeli apartheid.

Such a stance would not only align with Malaysia's historical principles but also contribute to the global efforts to ensure justice, peace and respect for the rights of the Palestinians.

Malaysia's voice and actions can make a meaningful difference in pursuing a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Centhra firmly believes that the issue of the ongoing settler-colonialism in Palestine requires a just and moral approach in line with international law and human rights.

We call upon Malaysia, all Asean member states and the international community to champion the cause of Palestinian self-determination, justice and freedom.

Centhra hopes to see Malaysia taking a more unequivocal stance in advocating for an end to Israeli apartheid and supporting the Palestinian people in pursuing a just and lasting peace.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.