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Special parliament sitting on Gaza invasion tomorrow

KUALA LUMPUR, 11 Jan 2009: The special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat tomorrow is expected to adopt Malaysia’s stand on the Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip as well as initiatives to further prompt the international community into action over the bloody conflict.

The members of parliament, both from the government and opposition, will debate on the Israeli offensive against the Palestians that has killed up to 850 people, at the sitting scheduled to begin at 2.30pm.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will table a motion which will be seconded by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), will also speak at the special sitting while Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim will wind up the debate.

The special sitting is an extension of the initiatives adopted by Kuala Lumpur to get the Tel Aviv regime to stop the atrocities it launched on 27 Dec last year against the Palestinians and the various amenities in Gaza, home to 1.5 million people. 

The people of Palestine have suffered for a long time under Israeli occupation of the territory and an economic blockade over the last 18 months.

The special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat is significant in figuring out further initiatives following Israel’s rejection of a United Nations resolution adopted on 9 Jan calling for an immediate cease-fire. The United States had abstained in the UN vote.

Malaysia, a strong supporter of the struggle of the Palestinian people, is seen by many as having the clout to coax the international community to adopt efforts to free the people of Palestine from the cruel clutches of Israel.

This was, more or less, evident when the UN responded positively to a request from Malaysia and Brazil to convene a special session, which took place on 9 Jan.

Nevertheless, the Malaysian government has expressed disappointment over the UN resolution which it felt had failed to consider several important elements hoped for by the majority of the international community, such as humanitarian aid and the formation of an international peace-keeping force.

Malaysia has all along rejected the Israeli occupation of Palestine which has seen the conflict prolong since 1948 following the establishment of Israel and the displacement of millions of Palestinians from their homeland.

The latest conflict saw Malaysians reacting along with the peace-loving international community seeking justice to demand an immediate stop to the Israeli atrocities in the Gaza Strip.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has proposed that the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) set up a peace-keeping force to be despatched to Islamic countries faced with conflicts such as that in Palestine.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has proposed that the special sitting of the Dewan Rakyat adopt a resolution for the UN to set up a tribunal to investigate and prosecute Israeli war crimes, as had been suggested by Francis Boyle, an expert in international law and human rights, from the United States.

Others have also called for the boycott of products of Israel’s allies, including the United States.

The Malaysian government has also offered US$1 million (RM3.6 million) in humanitarian aid for the people of Palestine, to be channelled through voluntary relief agency Mercy Malaysia, and relaunched the humanitarian fund of Wisma Putra to help the Palestinians. — Bernama


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