LAST_UPDATESun, 22 Jul 2018 3pm

Palestinians Want Malaysians To Know Why Jerusalem Is Important To Them

Pic: Middle East MonitorPic: Middle East Monitor

After United States President Donald Trump broke international consensus by boldly recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, expectedly, the news was not well-received by people from all walks of life as it further drives a wedge between Israel and Palestine.

Amidst global protests, the United Nations (UN) Security Council is putting together a draft resolution, in which stresses that Jerusalem is an issue “to be resolved through negotiations” and expresses “deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem”, according to AFP. This will make Trump’s move null and void, and force him to withdraw his decision – if other council members back the draft resolution.

But for now, all the Palestinians can do is urge the world, particularly Muslim nations, to stand with their people more than ever, in hopes to put an end once and for all to the pain they have had to endure in their homeland, for the last 70 years.

Jerusalem Is Our Home

Pic: Jpost.comPic: Jpost.comIt goes without saying that our sentiments regarding the issue are infinitesimal compared to Palestinians themselves.
Bushra’ Abdul Alqader strongly voiced that she is devastated by the news as her homeland is gradually being wiped out of the face of the earth.

“History has recorded how Israel stole our land with violence and fury, and Trump’s decision to move the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem will only amplify the on-going violence in what is left of Palestine,” the Jerusalem-native tells us.

“Yes, the violence exuded by the Israeli army is not recent news – but Trump’s decision has prompted the Palestinians to express their infuriation, which will then result to casualties as the Israeli army that surround the Al-Aqsa mosque will not hesitate to respond using violence,” she lamented.

However, Bushra emphasises that her people are not afraid of the Israelis’ wrath as the whole of Jerusalem rightfully belongs to Palestine, and that her people are willing to sacrifice their lives to fight for their country.

“Some would say that the demise of eight Palestinians (in Jerusalem alone) following our most recent protest is little, but what the world isn’t aware of is that Palestinians die almost every day – if not at the hands of the Israeli army, it’s due to medical reasons or starvation.

“Gunshots are commonly heard. Regardless, women, children or the elderly, they are all victims. The Israeli army not only prevent us from praying in Al-Aqsa mosque, but they have robbed us of basic necessities such as food and medical supplies,” she revealed of the gruesome reality.

Pic: Farooq Khaleed (The Israelis built homes on Palestinian soil)Pic: Farooq Khaleed (The Israelis built homes on Palestinian soil)While the Israeli government continue with their development on (rightfully) Palestinian soil, the Palestinians are forced to live like refugees and prisoners in their own country. Jalonar Ekram says the stark difference between the two states are like day and night.

“There is roughly a 20-metre wall that separates Israel from Palestine, and locals and tourists alike can easily observe how the Israeli side is developed, while the Palestinian side looks like a ghost town.

“Our windows are barricaded, and we are forced to live in poor condition as water supply and food is scarce. This is my country, this is my land, and yet, I am treated like a prisoner here, so much so that I fear for my life if I leave my home alone,” the Jerusalem-native professed and said that Trump’s announcement will give the Israeli army more reason to act in aggression.

But despite the sounds of bombs, gunshots and explosives surrounding Jerusalem, she conveyed that Palestinians are not hindered from performing their obligatory prayers in the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Jalonar then recounted the moment her younger brother, Ammar, was brutally assaulted by three men from the Israeli army after he questioned as to why he was not permitted to enter Al-Aqsa.

She said other Palestinians were also detained for “obstructing the public peace” and “engaging with an officer,” while deducing that the number of victims these past week is uncountable.

“We will continue to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque, even if the Israeli army causes trouble. It isn’t fair that our right to enter the holy site is subjected to their approval.

“Palestinians do not want violence; we just want our land and rights to be restored – especially when it concerns Jerusalem – but the on-going violence has resulted in many Palestinians fleeing the country in search of a better life,” she stated.

Jalonar prays that Palestine will be free one day and hopes it will then become home again to Palestinians scattered across the world.

While Bushra’ and Jalonar refuse to flee Palestine for the sake of their families, a Palestinian imam based in Wangsa Maju, Farooq Khaleed, relayed that he left the Palestinian city, Ramallah, to escape the nightmare that has taken a hold on his birthplace.

Pic: Sky NewsPic: Sky News

He shared that what is currently happening in Jerusalem has been going on for decades. And though Israelis initially arrived in Palestine as refugees and illegally settled in Palestine because Palestinians were willing to share Jerusalem with Israel, Farooq highly doubts that the Zionists would reciprocate the same notion.

“The last time I set foot in Jerusalem was in 2013. And I saw how the Israeli army would assault the locals for merely speaking to them, while some would spit at the locals and cuss at them – even when the Palestinians did not utter a single word.

“As I walked around the city, I saw shabbily-dressed children and adults asking for food and water to survive; I saw some of my fellow Palestinians’ nursing wounds; and I saw some of my countrymen reciting the shahada as they know they will not live to see another day,” the imam sullenly recalled.

“Trump undeniably declared war on the Muslim world when he subtly showed that he favours the Israeli, though at the same time I am reminded that Palestine has been under Israeli occupant for 70 years; so what has the Muslim world been doing?

“There have been many instances whereby the world expressed their disagreement against the violence projected by the Israeli army, but I think the world has not exhausted all measures to bring peace between the two nations,” he highlighted.

Pic: Getty Images (Faroouq shared that hundreds of Palestinian children are arrested and severely assaulted by the Israeli army.)Pic: Getty Images (Faroouq shared that hundreds of Palestinian children are arrested and severely assaulted by the Israeli army.)Despite his scepticism, the 45-year-old imam humbly expressed his gratitude for Malaysians in showing their sentiments and support. And despite migrating and starting a family here in Malaysia, he deduced that Palestine will always be his home.

“I don’t know when, but I will return to Palestine one day because it is my home and I would like to share it with my family,” he optimistically said while expressing hope to one day be able to bring his family to Palestine, specifically Jerusalem.

He also urged all Palestinians across the globe to never forget their roots as that will permit the Zionists to erase Palestine and its history.

“As for the rest of the Muslim community, let us continue to spread the awareness on the atrocities that is occurring in Palestine this very moment and if you have the opportunity to provide aid to those in Palestine – even if it is in the form of donation – please do so.

“Praying, and sharing images of the destruction helps in creating awareness, but what should be happening next is manifesting awareness into physical aid, because in my humble opinion, Palestinians need to know that they are not forgotten,” he stated.

Muslims Must Stand United For Palestine

Pic: Malaysian Digest (Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Dr Anwar Al Agha)Pic: Malaysian Digest (Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia Datuk Dr Anwar Al Agha)Speaking with the Palestinian Ambassador to Malaysia, Datuk Dr Anwar Al Agha, he exclaimed that Palestinians are immensely surprised by Trump’s declaration as it is not his right to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, due to the fact that it is not within his jurisdiction.

“Trump has made the biggest historical mistake as it contradicts the international community and the two-state solution 181 that was adopted by the UN in 1947,” he points out.

“In 1948, the state of Israel was established,” after UN agreed that the Jews ought to have their own country and were then given an area called Palestine, in which he explained that the resolution stipulated that East Jerusalem belonged to Palestine, and West Jerusalem belonged to Israel.

Following disputes between the Palestinians and the Jews pertaining border security, water rights, land rights, legalities concerning refugees, and above all, control of Jerusalem, the conflict was ‘resolved’ by the two-state solution, but unfortunately, the boundaries between the two groups of people remain debatable.

“And since then and until today, for seven decades, we have not come to the implementation of the second half of the resolution – which again, contradicts the two-state solution.

“In 2012 during the UN general assembly, Palestine received the support of 140 countries in recognising the state of Palestine, including the Swedish government and the Vatican as they believe in the two-state solution,” the Gaza-native explained.

Apart from viewing Trump’s declaration as a sabotage to the peace process between Palestine and Israel, he also opined that Trump’s move which is in favour of his businesses and friends, puts Palestinians in grave danger.

The Zionist organisation has influence over Trump and his administration, and for this biasness, Palestinians now demand for an end to the US administration in mediating the peace process in the Middle East.

“The peace process should be mediated by an international power, but it should not be Trump. Hence why we should really look for some other parties to mediate and sponsor the peace processes in the Middle East,” he voiced. 

Nevertheless, the ambassador hopes that the US President will revert to the two-state solution.

Pic: Gaza Healthy Ministry (Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters clash in Jerusalem's Old City Friday.)Pic: Gaza Healthy Ministry (Israeli security forces and Palestinian protesters clash in Jerusalem's Old City Friday.)

“We are currently in the midst of consulting with relevant parties to see the next steps to be taken, and to see if the US President and his administration are violating the International Laws and International Regulations.

“And if he is, we will take it to the International Criminal Court to file a case against Trump and his administration, as well as the Israeli terrorists and commanders who have killed Palestinians,” he relayed.

Dr Anwar vehemently expressed that Palestinians will never surrender Jerusalem to Israel, regardless the Israeli obstacles that exist in Jerusalem. In addition, he is confident that no Muslim will allow the US President to act as he pleases.

“If he respects Muslims, he should respect the Muslims hailing from Muslim countries, and he should consider that every country has its own sovereignty,” the ambassador stressed.

While Dr Anwar is grateful that Malaysians have continuously stood by Palestine, he does believe that the issue surrounding Trump’s declaration would never have surfaced if the Muslim stand united against the atrocities projected by the Israelis from the beginning.

“Since taking office as the Palestinian ambassador to Malaysia in 2013, I have seen Malaysians showing great support for the Palestinian cause and it is gradually growing, and on behalf of my people, I thank you,” he expressed.

“However, if the Muslim world can unite as one, they would not only be able to prevent Trump from making the declaration, but also prevent the Zionist organisation who share the same practices and stop anybody who attack the Muslim world and its community.

“So we strongly hope that the Muslim world will stand united to face the obstacles endured by all Muslims throughout the globe,” he declared with faith.

And as a reminder to Muslims that Jerusalem is one of the most holy cities in the Muslim world, he shared his experience whilst visiting the city saying, “You feel very much comfortable and safe as you are in the hands of Allah the Almighty.”

“You’ll also feel very much attached to Islam as you will be overwhelmed with a special feeling upon stepping on its soil,” he recalled with a smile while urging for all Muslims to set foot there.

Malaysians Should Continue Their Support

Pic: MyCARE (A Palestinian boy waits for the arrival of Dr Fauziah Mohd Hasan during the Women's Boat to Gaza mission.Pic: MyCARE (A Palestinian boy waits for the arrival of Dr Fauziah Mohd Hasan during the Women's Boat to Gaza mission.Amongst the good Samaritans that our society is blessed with, Dr Fauziah Mohd Hasan, is one of the few that has physically gone to the war-torn country and provided humanitarian aid to the oppressed Palestinians – twice during the post-war period.

“I first went to Gaza in January 2009 on a medical mission, I had the opportunity to explore and contribute in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology as the birth rate was immensely high.

“In November 2012, I went to Gaza once more for a recce mission, to assess the needs of the people whilst auditing the projects initiated by the Non-Profit Organisation (NGO) Humanitarian Care Malaysia Berhad (MyCARE),” the dedicated humanitarian relayed.

Throughout her venture, she graciously underlined that the experience was both humbling and eye-opening due to the nobility exuded by the Palestinians.

“We once visited a home owned by an elderly lady who lives with her daughter in-law and grandchildren, and she warmly welcomed and hosted us whilst entertaining us with her stories and fed us well.

“We didn’t hear a single word of complaint, yet after we left, we were informed that the meal that we just ate was the only food that the family had for today,” the 60-year-old shared.

“Despite the fact that they can barely survive, they don’t beg; despite not having enough to spare, they are still willing to share; and this showed us that Palestinians, despite their hardships, have a big heart and are always positive.”

Pic: MyCARE (Iftar project in Al-Aqsa Mosque implemented by MyCARE Gaza)Pic: MyCARE (Iftar project in Al-Aqsa Mosque implemented by MyCARE Gaza)Aside the inspiring fact that the Palestinians have not lost touch with their humanity, Dr Fauziah also conveyed that she was blessed to have witnessed their countless displays of commendable morality.

“Palestinians are very educated, and their children are well-behaved as they voluntarily made lines to receive gifts from us and share them amongst their peers, when typically, children would scramble around to get as much as they can.

“I was also fortunate to have crossed paths with trustworthy Palestinians, which I believe is another characteristic that we rarely see in this modern competitive world,” she communicated.

Dr Fauziah further shared that when she presented some money to her driver as a token of appreciation, rather than keeping the money for himself, the driver went to inform his superior of the additional income – because he believed that the extra money did not belong to him.

“It was also amazing to note that the Palestinians in Gaza, also helped to raise funds to help the famine among Somalians in 2011,” the MyCARE Board of Trustees Member pointed out.

The Kuala Terengganu-native then conveyed that the Palestinians are God fearing people who sincerely portray a serene expression despite their unfortunate reality – and that their admirable and strong trust in Allah, resulted in their resilience to obtain liberation.

She further described the Palestinians as “resourceful, resistant, and resilient,” as the massive destruction that their homeland is plagued with has never discouraged them from continuing to rebuild their beloved city.

Pic: MyCARE (Fatimah, a single mother who only has dates for Suhoor and Iftar, said that she is grateful for the humanitarian aid)Pic: MyCARE (Fatimah, a single mother who only has dates for Suhoor and Iftar, said that she is grateful for the humanitarian aid)However, since her last visit to Gaza in 2012, Dr Fauziah alerted that the situation has worsened many folds as the UN has declared that Gaza will not be habitable in two years (2012).

“With three wars and a decade of blockade, definitely rebuilding of the war-torn infrastructures were dead slow.

“The Palestinians are compounded with very limited electricity supply of only a few hours daily, almost all daily activities were restricted and even the flow of sewage into the Mediterranean sea cannot be controlled, thus polluting the sea.

“With the limitation of six nautical miles for Gaza fishers, one can imagine what kind of fish they may get in this polluted area,” she revealed.

And after seeing with her own eyes the devastating Israeli aggression and how Palestinians are treated as refugees for decades in their homeland, she worries if people of the world would one day slowly start to forget them.

On that note, Dr Fauziah advised Malaysians to contribute to the cause by carrying out a comprehensive and well-planned campaign to keep the momentum going.

“We need to invest on grooming the next generation who can approach the problem in a different manner, as we rely on the youth to continue the struggle because we know the journey is still long and it is imperative for them to understand why fighting for the Palestinians is important.

Pic: Al JazeeraPic: Al Jazeera“Forums and discussions should be done continuously to keep the issue and public consciousness alive and in doing so, we hope to get more support from all peace loving people to ensure decent livelihood to all Palestinians, as we would wish ourselves,” she opined.

“It is comforting to know that we can contribute something to reduce their sufferings despite the distance and the small size of Malaysia compared to other nations.

“Knowing that we can contribute to real change to even one person or life is motivating, and this inherently provides us the push we need to persevere in the cause.

“We hope despite all these, the support for the Palestinians does not falter,” she said of her and other Malaysians’ endeavours.

In the spirit of brotherhood and for world peace, Malaysian Digest stands in solidarity with Palestine and Palestinians across the globe; and God willing, may their land be rightfully restored.

- Malaysian Digest