KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim urged the United States (US) to cease supplying weapons to Israel and to use its significant global influence to end the conflict with the Palestinians.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera today, he said the actions of some Western countries are deemed hypocrites for preaching human rights and democracy while condoning atrocities against innocent populations.

“I think the international community made it very clear that authorities and governments, including the US, should do whatever it can for a complete cessation of hostilities and stop the war.

“Such rhetoric is quite subtle at times, but the actions seem to be on the contrary, and that’s why I see sometimes most countries in the West are being quite hypocritical between their lectures on human rights and democracy, but at the same time condoning, if not tolerating, this atrocity against an innocent population,” he said an interview with Al Jazeera today.

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He then went on to say that the US should take all necessary measures to end the atrocities, extending beyond just halting weapon supplies.

He said this is because the US has the combined influence, mechanisms and diplomatic skills needed to compel Israel to stop these actions.

“It is impossible to imagine that one man, (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu can dictate world affairs,” he added.

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Responding to a question by Talk to Al Jazeera host Sami Zeidan whether he sees Israel as a “colonial apartheid state”, he said that it is clear that Israel is an apartheid state, citing their actions against Palestinians and their control over Palestinian territories as evidence.

Anwar also said Israel’s continued annexation of Palestinian land constitutes a form of colonisation, pointing out that the Nakba of 1948 and ongoing threats are part of this process.

“People talk about the Nakba and the following threats, the continued annexation is a colonisation. Clearly, how else do you explain their actions against the Palestinians and the fact that they continue to control lands that belong to the Palestinian people?

“Looking at the facts and the disastrous consequences in Gaza, no one in their right mind could deny the fact that it is either an ethnic cleansing or gross apartheid or genocide. It has come to that,” he said.

When asked if he agreed with international human rights groups labelling the US as complicit with Israel in the war in Gaza, Anwar said he could not deny it.

He explained that the evident facts make it impossible to condone such atrocities without losing moral standing in international relations, humanity, order and human rights.

“I’m in no position to deny that because the facts are evident. Knowing atrocities are being committed, whether it’s your ally or a friend or a nation that has a nexus with you, you cannot condone this, otherwise you have no moral standing in the world to talk about international relations, humanity, order and human rights,” he was quoted saying.

Anwar also said that he had met with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and former Hamas chairman Khaled Mashal, clarifying that his engagement with Hamas is purely diplomatic and political, aimed at persuading them to understand the concerns of others.

He said that Hamas represents a portion of the Palestinian people in Gaza, questioning the hypocrisy of condemning Hamas for recent events while remaining silent about decades of atrocities against Palestinians.

“Whether you like it or not, Hamas does represent some portion of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

“I am not here to defend anyone, but why the hypocrisy of condemning Hamas over October 7 and then staying muted regarding the more than 60 years of atrocities against the Palestinian people?

“This engagement is purely diplomatic (and) political, to persuade them (Hamas) to understand the concerns of others.

“It is of benefit, as the Qataris have done, to secure the release of hostages through contact and engagement. You don’t need to agree with everything they do, but I think a principled stance would help,” he added.

Anwar also said that he had conveyed his position on Israel at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco last year.

During the meeting, he said he urged US President Joe Biden to request an immediate ceasefire. However, there had been no response from the US after his speech.