Malaysia’s Prime Minister Defies West, Supports Hamas

( – The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim, has refused to condemn the Palestinian militant group Hamas after their deadly terrorist attack on Israel earlier this month. According to Anwar, western and European countries have asked him to condemn Hamas, but he is refusing to bow to the pressure.

Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, has been a longtime supporter of Palestinian people, who once lived on the territory on which modern-day Israel was established in 1947. Some Arab Israelis are related to Palestinians, most of whom are relegated to a difficult life in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

Leaders from Hamas have visited Malaysia in the past, meeting with top officials in Malaysia. Malaysia has repeatedly advocated for a two-state solution, which would include carving out Palestine state alongside Israel. Though Malaysia has a warm relationship with Palestinian territories, they have no diplomatic relationship with Israel.

In 2013, the Prime Minister of Malaysia at the time, Najib Razak, accepted an invitation from Hamas to visit Gaza, defying the blockade from Israel.

Ibrahim said he disagreed with the pressure from Western nations to condemn Hamas due to the “long-standing relationship” his country has with Hamas and that Hamas controls Palestine due to “free elections” and were chosen by the people of Gaza. However, Ibrahim did not mention that the last elections in Palestine were nearly 20 years ago, in 2006.

According to local media, approximately 1,000 Muslims in Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, participated in a rally to show solidarity with Palestinians. Chants of “Free Palestine” and “Crush the Zionists” were heard, and some members of the crowd burned effigies that were covered in the Israeli flag.

Prime Minister Anwar said his Foreign Minister, Zambry Abdul Kadir, will be attending a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Saudi Arabia to discuss the ongoing crisis in Palestine. He told the Malaysian Parliament that he has given Abdul Kadir “full mandate” to do whatever possible to “expedite the humanitarian aid” to Palestinians.

Anwar called out Western nations, calling them hypocrites for condemning Russia for its actions in Ukraine while supporting Israel’s retaliatory strikes against Gaza, from which Hamas militants launched an incursion into Israel that claims thousands of Israeli lives, on Oct. 7. Anwar offered no direct comment on the motive and rationale behind Hamas’ attack.

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