Unlikely Malaysia will establish ties with Israel for now, says academic

An Israeli flag is seen on top of signs pointing out distances to different cities, on Mount Bental, an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that overlooks the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, Israel May 10, 2018. — Reuters pic
An Israeli flag is seen on top of signs pointing out distances to different cities, on Mount Bental, an observation post in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights that overlooks the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing, Israel May 10, 2018. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, June 21 — It is very unlikely for Malaysia to establish any formal relation with Israel so long the regime does not change its policy and recognise the sovereignty of the Palestine state, an academician said. 

Prof Dr Azizuddin Mohd Sani from School of International Studies, Universiti Utara Malaysia said this when asked on an international newswire report that Israel is keen to establish ties with Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, despite of their joint condemnation on the regime’s attacks on Gaza Strip in May.

He said Malaysia’s stand on the Palestine-Israel issue has always been firm and clear.

If Israel is to see a change in Malaysia’s stand, it has to show that it respects and upholds the international laws in regards to the Palestine soverignty and seek to resolve the longstanding problem.

“I think Malaysia will change its approach and recognise Israel if Israel abandoned its policy of apartheid on Palestine and the Palestinian people. Then we can talk. At this juncture, I doubt that this will happen. It is clear,” he told Bernama.

Azizuddin also believed the regime is also on a campaign to mend its image worldwide especially among the Muslim countries, following it’s latest incursion on the Gaza Strip in May.

“Israel’s current policy is to have diplomatic relations with as many Muslim countries possible. It wants to get many Muslim countries to accept the Israel state.

“But many Muslim countries, including Malaysia never recognised Israel. And this could probably the reason why they want to establish relations with us,” he said.

On June 17, Reuters in an interview with Israeli ambassador to Singapore, Sagi Karni, had reported that Israel is keen to established ties with Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, three Muslim majority countries in Southeast Asia, despite of  their joint condemnation on regime’s attacks on Gaza Strip in May.

Karni had said that the criticism from leaders of the three countries was ‘not honest’ and ignored ‘the true nature of the conflict’ which was between Israel and Hamas and not the Palestinian people.

“We are willing talk, we are willing to meet, and the door is open as far as we are concerned. I don’t think it’s so difficult to find us,” he said.

Israel currently have embassies in Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines and Myanmar.

In 2020, it established formal ties with four Arab states — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — under the US-brokered deal. — Bernama

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