Islamic Foreign Ministers warn of all-out ME war

  • From: "Muslim-News" <editor@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <submit@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 Apr 2002 09:17:03 +0100

KUALA LUMPUR: Islamic foreign ministers warned of "all-out war" in the
Middle East as the September 11 attacks on the US were sidelined at an
Islamic conference on terrorism here on Monday. The conference also
urged the United Nations to impose "deterrent sanctions" on Israel after
its crackdown on the Palestinians. 

"Israel's terrorist actions and aggressive practices, posing a threat to
international peace and security and dragging the region towards an
all-out war, necessitate immediate action by the UN Security Council to
apply Chapter VII of the UN Charter," the ministers said in a statement,
referring to the UN Charter clause under which the Security Council can
order use of force to maintain international peace and security if all
other means are deemed to have failed. 

The statement, made unanimously by 53 members of the 57-nation
Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) represented at a special
three-day meeting on terrorism here, strongly condemned the recent
Israeli storming of Palestinian cities and villages, as well as the
headquarters of the Palestinian presidency and endangering the life of
President Arafat and members of the Palestinian leadership. 

"The conference considers this assault a violation of all international
norms and laws and the culmination of state terrorism as practised by
Israel. The conference, while cautioning Israel of the dire consequences
of the attack on the Palestinian president, requests the UN Security
Council, the two sponsors of the peace process and the European Union to
assume their responsibility for immediately stopping the Israeli
aggression and withdrawing the Israeli troops from all occupied Arab and
Palestinian territories," the statement added. 

The conference, while lauding the Palestinian people under the
leadership of President Yasser Arafat and paying tribute to Intifada,
reaffirmed the continuing support for the Palestinian people's struggle
for the liquidation of the Israeli occupation and restoration of their
inalienable national rights, including the right of refugees to return
to their homes, the right to self-determination and to establish their
sovereign state with al-Quds al-Sharif as its capital. 

The conference asked the UN Security Council to take necessary measures
to provide international protection for the Palestinian people and apply
deterrent sanctions against Israel. The ministers also welcomed the Arab
peace initiative taken by the Beirut Summit and requested the Security
Council to exert pressure on Israel for implementing the initiative in
its entirety. The conference was called in the wake of the September 11
terror attacks on New York and Washington, but concern over that
atrocity was mostly blown aside by Israel's latest actions in the
Palestinian territories. 

The conference was opened earlier with the Prime Minister of host
Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, controversially included Palestinian suicide
bombers in his definition of "terrorists". But his call for a globally
acceptable definition of terrorism as "attacks against civilians" -- and
joint action against it -- was soon swamped by condemnation of Israel. 

Mahathir's description of Palestinian suicide bombers as "terrorists"
was immediately challenged by Qatar Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad
Jassim. "No. They are not terrorists. It is the Israelis who are
terrorists but not the Palestinians because they are fighting for their
land," he said. 

"If they are fighting for freedom and oppose exploitation in the
occupied territory, they are not terrorists. If they use violence inside
their territory, it is not terrorism," said Indonesia's Minister of
Justice and Human Rights Yusril Ihza Mahendra. Asked about the
description of Palestinian suicide bombers as terrorists, Omani Foreign
Minister Yusof Alawi Abdullah said: "We should accept that because we
are not pleased to see innocent people killed no matter what religion or
nationality they are." 

Iran called on members of the OIC to cut all negotiations with Israel
over its latest crackdown on Palestinians. Foreign Minister Kamal
Kharazi criticised the United States, saying it had "severely damaged
this international momentum against terrorism through a series of
unilateral actions, short-sighted policies and arrogant statements". 

The three-day conference was originally designed to bring Muslim states
into the mainstream of the global debate on terrorism, and Mahathir,
while objecting to the linking of Islam to terrorism, called on Muslims
everywhere to "condemn terrorism once it is clearly defined". He
referred at some length to the history of the Palestinian people and
said: "If we are serious about stopping terrorists then we must stop
both the Palestinians and the Israelis from mutual suicide". 

The Asian leader said there was "a great deal of bitterness and anger
among Muslims" because of ideological, military and economic dominance
by developed countries. "The impotence of Muslim countries to do
anything to remedy the situation adds to this frustration and anger," he
said, leading some people to "commit terrible acts of terror". "In the
eyes of the helplessly poor the rich appear very oppressive, forcing
them to accept systems, ideologies and values, which they are not yet
ready for." 

Mahathir said the Nazi Holocaust did not defeat the Jews and a second
holocaust would not defeat the Arabs. "The suicide bombers consider
themselves already dead and are on the way to heaven. They are not
likely to be deterred by the threat of death. Killing their leader
(besieged PLO chief Yasser Arafat) will not help either... as more
violent leaders will replace the fallen leader and the terror attacks
will go on," he said. 

Source:  The News

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