Monday, February 20, 2012

Anwar at pains trying to justify his WSJ statement


To a question posed by a journalist at a media conference during a programme organised by the Foreign Correspondents Club Thailand (FCCT), while avoiding eye contact and shaking his head, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim agreed that his controversial statement published by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) had brought forth a deluge of polemics in Malaysia.

Expressing regret that such a question was raised by someone whom he considered to be a friend (and ally?), Anwar reminded the journalist that he should realised how much trouble he (Anwar) was in over the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

Subsequently, Anwar went on trying to explain and justify his statement in which he maintained that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people must be respected.

He said as long as the U.S. and Israel did not recognise Hamas, the two states solution agenda would forever be doomed to failure.

According to him, peace talks with Israel could only be a reality when Hamas and Fatah made peace with each other, along with the involvement of international bodies. That, to him, would be the best resolution.

Anwar, as reported by WSJ on January 26 said, “I support all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel,” said Mr. Anwar, although he stopped short of saying he would open diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, a step which he said remains contingent on Israel respecting the aspirations of Palestinians”

Anwar continued to explain what he alleged was the context of his interview with WSJ by issuing another statement on his official website, anwaribrahimblog, last January 28 in which he agreed to the proposal for a ‘two states solution.’

The ‘two states solution’ is an idea lobbied by Jewish apologist organisations in the likes of the International Crisis Group (ICG), which suggested that both Israel and Palestine be given recognition as legal and sovereign states, and that the Islamic world, in particular the Arab countries establish diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

In spite of that, the ‘two states solution’ as suggested by Anwar was rejected by many including PAS President, Datuk Seri Hadi Awang, Dr Azzam Tarmizi of Ikhwan Muslimin and Palestine Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

Why, even the Syura Council of PAS demanded that Anwar retract his statement or sue WSJ over the matter.

In 2006, when Anwar was residing in the U.S., he admitted that efforts to approach Hamas were a strategy to persuade and ensure that it agreed with the U.S. agenda.

“In fact, Minister Erdogan briefed me on what happened, and to my mind he was courageous and smart to take advantage of the opportunity to show Hamas that he respects the decision of the Palestinian people, and that he is prepared to work with them.

But it is also important to convince Hamas, "We want you to be a player in the international community, which means that there are some parts of your charter stemming from an angry period, which must be rationalised."

Engagement with Turkey provides an opportunity to convey to Hamas the need to moderate their position, and as an ally of the U.S., Turkey can legitimately tell Hamas that "Yes, we will also work with the United States to try to find common ground," said Anwar as reported by Julia Kirby of Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, U.S.

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