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US support for Israel unlikely to change

PUTRAJAYA, 5 Jan 2009: US president-elect Barack Obama is not expected to change his country’s support for Israel although the Zionist regime had clearly acted brutally against Palestine, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

He said a major power like the United States needed Israel to support certain policies which the former implemented and turning away from the regime would mean losing the much-anticipated support.

“Although the United States’ Congress consists of learned individuals, it condones terrorism. We see Israel as having no restriction and Israel actually rules the world through its proxies because no US presidential candidate, including Barack Obama, is bold enough to state that the United States does not support Israel.

“In fact, Obama’s right-hand man (vice president-elect) Joseph Biden has openly declared that he is a Zionist. So, you can imagine Obama’s foreign policy in the future,” he said at a news conference called to condemn Israel’s ongoing brutality against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, at the Perdana Leadership Foundation here.

Commenting on the tragedy in Palestine and the United States’ support for Israel, Mahathir said the whole world has to unite to state its opposition to the US government’s continued support of Israel.

Mahathir said it was difficult to undermine the position of the United States as a major power and, as such, the unity of all quarters was most necessary to shake its support for Israel’s atrocities.

“Although governments may not be able to do anything, the people can play an effective role, especially in boycotting all goods produced by that country.  

“The people can act and they have the capacity to act,” he said, adding that the people need not consume US brands of soft drinks and that the government cannot force them to drink them.

“If we need to buy weapons for our security forces, we can always buy them from Russia; we don’t have to buy from the United States,” he said.

Mahathir said the boycott would have to be a universal effort because it would be ineffective if carried out by just one side.

“We have to be bold. If all Malaysians are united, even a small thing can provide a major impact,” he said.

Mahathir, who is chair of the Kuala Lumpur Foundation to Criminalise War, however acknowledged that there would be a price to pay if countries stopped trading with the world’s major trading nation.

“There is a price to pay for everything. If we want to do something good, then there will be a price to pay. I think if you whittle down involvement with the United States from now, slowly we will get used to it,” he said.

Israel, he said, had to be blamed for invading Gaza but the United States and Britain should also be held responsible for their undivided support of the regime.

“The United States is already paying the price for this. Their embassies have to have high walls and barbed wire all around. People hate the United States, but if they want to be hated by people it’s their business. Of importance is that the support for Israel must stop,” he said. — Bernama

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