By Dr. Mahathir Mohamad*
1. Finally Obama, the black President of the United States has made his much awaited speech outlining his views and policies on Islam, the Muslims and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is a carefully crafted speech and certainly it is different from those of George W. Bush or even other US Presidents.
2. The arrogance and the preachings are out but two things American still stand out, and that is the United States is a world super power and that American loyalty to Israel is undiminished. Other things can change but not these two.
3. Hamas is asked to give up terrorism because like the struggles of the blacks of America and South Africa, violence achieves nothing. This is not quite true, at least with other national struggles for freedom and justice. The white Americans themselves fought a war against the British and another war to prevent the break-up of the United States.
4. Elsewhere the struggles for freedom and justice e.g. the French Revolution and the Russian Revolution just to name two, all involve violence.
5. It is not the Palestinians who choose violence. It was the Jews who violently seized Palestinian land, massacred the Arabs and expelled them from their country. With no one prepared to restrain the Jews, the beleaguered Palestinians had to resort to violence. The world, the United Nations, even fellow Muslims have deserted them.
6. I am against violence but when Israel seized more Palestinian land, build settlements, impose military rule, divide the Palestinians with high walls, barred the Palestinians from using roads built by the Israelis on Palestinian territory, denied the Palestinian right to a homeland, denied the right of return of the expelled Palestinian while upholding the rights of return of Jews who for centuries had been citizens of other countries, labelled Palestinians as terrorists while exonerating the Israelis for the massive attacks on Gaza and other places, left the Palestinians helpless when attacked by the Western-armed Israeli Military Forces, incarcerated thousands of Palestinians in Israeli jails, unnecessarily provoke the Palestinians by Sharon's visit to Jerusalem and many, many more assaults and provocations, is it any wonder that the Palestinians resorted to violence?
7. And now they are asked to stop violence to respect agreements. But what about the Israelis? Shouldn't they be told to stop their massive violence; shouldn't they be told to respect agreements and all the UN resolutions, such as those against their setting up settements on Palestinian soil, the occupation of land beyond the UN set boundaries for Israel?
8. Obama stresses America's strong bond with Israel. It is unbreakable. He recognises the aspiration for a Jewish homeland "rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied".
9. But what is the tragic history? It is that of European persecution of the Jews, of the regular pogroms culminating in the Holocaust? It is not the doings of the Muslims. Certainly not the doings of the Palestinians.The tragedy was caused by the Europeans through the ages.
10. Obama must know that before there was the United States, the Jews invariably fled to Muslim countries to seek refuge from European persecution. The Muslims did not turn them back. Before Israel there were millions of Jews in Muslim land. Even today quite a few are still there.
11. The Muslims have never been part of the tragic history of the Jews.. Why then must they pay the price for the tragedy caused by the Europeans? Had the Europeans offered part of Europe or America for a Jewish state, there would not be the sustained violence that we see in West Asia. But the Europeans expropriated Arab Palestinian land to give to the Jews. Can an injustice in West Asia atone for injustice in Europe? The Muslim Arabs have to pay for the asylum they provided the Jews by having their land taken away to give to the Jews.
12. To make matters worse the Palestinian Arabs, Christians and Muslims, were violently expelled from Palestine. Israel is to be a racist state for Jews only.
13. America accepts people of different races and religious affiliations. But it supports the exclusivity of Israel as a Jewish state.
14. The Palestinians had tried conventional ways of getting back their land. But conventional ways had failed. They have been forsaken by Arab and Muslim countries. Everytime they try on their own they lose more land because the Europeans and Americans gave military support to Israel.
15. It is only after the failure of conventional wars of liberation that they resorted to unconventional attacks. Can they be blamed? Even the tiny mouse when driven into a corner will fight literally with tooth and nail.
16. We can label the methods of the cornered Palestinians terrorism. But they are themselves terrified and those who inflict terror on them cannot be less of a terrorist than them. State terrorism is no less terrifying than terrorism by irregulars. Indeed State terrorism is more terrifying as we witnessed in Nazi Germany and in Cambodia.
17. I will admit that Obama has brought change. It is a relief after eight years of Bush. But there is an area that he cannot change and that is the blind support for Israel. He has no choice. He will become a one-term President of the United States if he does not.
18. For all the talk about democracy in America, the American majority have no power to choose their President or their Government. That power lies with Israel. They can deny this. But that is the truth. The Americans have become the proxy of the Jews. The Americans will pay a heavy price for this.
* Mahathir became the Prime Minister of Malaysia on 16 July 1981 when Tun Hussein Onn stepped down due to health reasons. He was the nation's first Prime Minister that came from a modest social background, whereas the first three prime ministers were members of the royal or elite families. After 22 years in office, Mahathir retired on 31 October 2003, making him one of Asia's longest-serving political leaders. Upon his retirement on 31 October 2003, Mahathir was awarded a "Tun"-ship, Malaysia's highest civilian honour.