29 January, 2009

Mahathir blasts Israeli terror.

Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad strongly backed the Saudi call for a probe into Israeli war crimes, and said that the UN must set up a war crimes tribunal against Tel Aviv to investigate what he called the genocide of innocent Palestinians. Speaking to Arab News yesterday, Mahathir said he supported the Arab peace initiative of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

“King Abdullah’s peace plan is a good initiative, but we are dealing with certain countries — especially Israel — that do not care about world opinion and peace,” he said. “So any effort to establish peace and to bring the warring parties together will fail, but that does not mean that there should not be any effort to resolve the issues.” Mahathir said that a Malaysian NGO is working to set up a tribunal to try, expose and punish several world leaders, especially the Israeli leadership, for their acts of terrorism.

“The Malaysian tribunal, for which we are now trying to find judges from different countries, will pronounce punitive judgment which may not be carried out because the culprits are high-profile world leaders,” said Mahathir.

He said the Malaysia-based tribunal would be able to try a number of leaders including those from Britain and the US.

“These Israeli, American and British leaders, including former US President George Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, will be tried in absentia for their war crimes because we cannot get them and we cannot even carry out any punishment that will be handed down to them. But, it will have much more moral value as the world will recognize that these people are war criminals.” Asked how the Muslim countries can force international agencies to launch an investigation into Israeli crimes, he said: “Many governments don’t want to get involved because it affects their relationships not only with Israel but also with other Western nations.”

He blamed the US for backing Israeli aggression against innocent Gazans, saying it makes the US a bigger culprit than Israel. Speaking about the changes in the American policy with Barack Obama at the helm, he cautiously welcomed the closure of Guantanamo prison and said: “It remains to be seen how effective these steps would be.”

Asked about his call to stop buying American goods, he said that: “It is symbolic because we cannot have a total boycott.” In Malaysia, he said, we are even buying more arms and ammunitions from Russia than the US now. He said if many nations boycott American weapons, no matter how good they are, the US would feel the pinch.

Referring to the nuclear proliferation in the Middle East, Mahathir said: “The US and Russia each have 1,000 nuclear warheads ... they want to be deterrent to the whole world and so they will destroy the nuclear capabilities of any country that comes forward.”

He questioned the logic behind letting some countries go scot-free on the issue, and asking some to roll back their nuclear programs. “Israel has 200 nuclear warheads, why this discrimination...why so?”

Talking about the US dollar, he said: “We encourage to stop using the US dollar as a trading currency, and if you are using the US dollar, that means you are financing America to kill Muslims.”


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