Israel war crimes probe long overdue, says Dr Mahathir

(Bernama) – Any move to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories is long overdue, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said Israel should face justice over the atrocities committed against the Palestinian people.

“Israel should be tried by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for killing people, for stealing other people’s territory, for building settlements in other people’s land. All these things are crimes,” he told a press conference at the conclusion of the Kuala Lumpur Summit (KL Summit) 2019 here today.

He was queried on a report that the ICC is preparing to investigate alleged war crimes in the Palestinian territories.

Dr Mahathir, who is KL Summit chairman,  pointed out that Israel had even detained ships carrying out humanitarian missions joined by Malaysians in international waters.

“You can’t do those things in international waters. If it’s in their national waters, yes, they can take action. But we were in international waters.

“They came in gunboats, they stopped our ships and took our ships to their ports, and until now we don’t know whether the aid that was intended for Gaza was delivered or not,” Dr Mahathir said, adding that the Israeli actions also caused deaths.

“But the whole world not only closed one eye, but they closed both eyes, and their mouths and their ears too,” said Dr Mahathir who is well known for his vocal views on Israeli aggression.

The plight of the Palestinians was highlighted at the KL Summit which was attended by Muslim leaders such as the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran.

Responding to a question on sanctions, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia generally does not believe in such actions as they affect other countries besides the targeted nations.

Citing sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, the prime minister said Malaysia too has been affected by the move as Iran is a big trading partner of this country.

“This kind of thing can only be done by a strong country. I would like to apply sanctions on (US President) Mr Trump but I cannot because I’m a small man, but he can apply sanctions on all countries and we suffer,” he added.