Published: Friday January 2, 2009 MYT 8:49:00 PM
Hundreds protest Gaza carnage
By FLORENCE A.SAMY, WINNIE YEOH, RUBEN SARIO and BEH YUEN HUI
KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of people gathered in separate locations throughout the nation to protest the Gaza Strip carnage that has killed more than 400 Palestinians.
Barisan Nasional Youth representatives led by their deputy chairman Khairy Jamaluddin turned up in full force at the Palestinian embassy here on Friday, together with other non-governmental and youth organisations, to denounce the Israeli strikes.
They were part of the Coalition Against Israeli Aggression which submitted a memorandum of support to Palestinian ambassador Abdel Aziz Abu Ghoush.
Khairy said a special Palestinian fund had been set up to help those affected by the humanitarian crisis and handed over a RM100,000 mock cheque to Abdel Aziz to kickstart the fund.
Representatives from MCA, MIC, Gerakan and PPP were also at the embassy together with a group of Palestinians who carried various banners calling for an end to the killings.
“The brutal massacre of Palestinians including women and children by the Israeli military has reminded the world of the urgency it must have to bring a just solution for the Palestinian people guaranteeing their sovereignty, security and well-being,” the memorandum stated.
The coalition also condemned economic sanctions and travel restrictions on the Gaza strip and West Bank, called for an immediate ceasefire and proposed a peace summit under United Nations to create an independent Palestine.
“This is a humanitarian issue which transcends religion. This is about the dignity and freedom of the Palestinian people,” said Khairy, who is also Umno Youth deputy head.
Earlier there was a bit of commotion when Abdel Aziz called on several non-Malaysian Palestinian supporters to stop holding up pictures of leaders of different Palestinian factions during the protest.
“It is time to unite together as one Palestine across political lines and factions. The killings are affecting all Palestinians and does not distinguish between Hamas or Fatah or other factions,” he added.
MCA national youth international affairs bureau chairman Dr Toh Kian Kok said they supported the protest as “we are against any form of violence as discord should be solved in an amicable manner.”
In GEORGE TOWN, more than 200 people staged a peaceful gathering in front of Kapitan Keling Mosque condemning the attacks.
Chanting anti-Zionist and anti-American slogans and carrying banners, the crowd staged the protest for about 45 minutes after performing their Friday prayers.
Policemen and patrol cars were seen patrolling the area to avoid any untoward incident.
PKR state executive councillor Abdul Malik Abul Kassim, who attended the gathering, said he wanted to show his support for the Palestinians who had been oppressed for years.
“The people there do not deserve this kind of treatment. The Hamas Government was properly elected by the people and no other state or authority has the right to interfere,” he said.
State PAS Youth chief Mohd Hafiz Nordin said the gathering was jointly organised by 13 non-governmental organisations like state PAS youth council, Ulama Association of Malaysia (PUM), Jemaah Islah Malaysia (JIM) and Malaysian Higher Learning Institutions’ Alumni (Haluan Malaysia).
“The inhumane and barbaric attacks by Israel have to cease. About 400 people have been killed since the attack started on Dec 27,” he said.
Mohd Hafiz said similar gatherings were also held at mosques in Kampung Jawa, Sungai Gelugor and Dato Kramat.
In JOHOR BARU, where some 100 people held a peaceful gathering, Johor PAS commissioner Datuk Dr Mahfodz Muhamed said, “We sympathise with the innocent people in Palestine, especially the children and women, who were killed in the attacks.”
The group dispersed peacefully after about 30 minutes.
In KOTA KINABALU, more than a hundred people staged a brief demonstration near the downtown area at a mosque soon after the Friday prayers.
Chanting “Save Palestine,” some of the protesters then burned a replica of the Star of David, the national symbol of Israel.
The group’s spokesman Lahirul Latigu said they had decided to stage the demonstration as a show of solidarity for the besieged Palestinians.
“Relevant international bodies such as the OIC must take immediate action to help people in the Gaza Strip and pressure Israel to stop its assault,” said Lahirul, the Sabah PAS Youth deputy chairman.