I reproduce the 3rd Tun Mahathir letter.
PRIME MINISTER. MALAYSIA 8 June 1999Now this letter is not in reply to any letter from Ehud Barak, Prime Minister elect at the time of the letter.
His Excellency Mr Ehud Barak Prime Minister Elect of Israel TEL AVIV
May I extend my congratulations on your victory in the recent elections. With this impressive mandate, I hope that you and your coalition partners will be able to guide the destiny of the people of Israel at the threshold of a new Century.
I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that Malaysia has always sought peace and the settlement of problems between neighbours through negotiations. It is therefore our hope to see the mutual implementation of the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel.We also believe that if the peace process is to be salvaged, sincere and effective steps must be taken to honour commitments.
As an important partner in the peace process it is crucial for Israel to be more accommodating. The Palestinians have made major sacrifices. They no longer demand the elimination of Israel. They are even prepared to share Jerusalem with you. It is therefore timely that Israel respond positively so as to sustain the hopes of the people in both Palestine and Israel. Solemn commitments made by a previous Goverment must be honoured. The alternative I am afraid, would be a permanent state of conflict and regional instability extending into the next Century. This is certainly a prospect that must be avoided.
The crux of the problem is that no party should revert to the old ways of taking what belongs to others, on the one hand and instigating hatred and violence, on the other. Malaysia cannot countenance aggression by anyone, whether friend or foe. Any country that forcibly takes over land and properties of others, or demolishes dwellings belonging to others in order to set up its own settlements cannot be said to be sincere in wanting peace.
Malaysia is of the firm conviction that the security of all countries in West Asia can only be assured with the establishment of a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the region. This must be based on the principle of "exchange of land for peace" and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
The world looks forward to Israel under your leadership, to push forward the peace process with true determination. It is my sincere hope that the attainment of a comprehensive settlement in the region would allow Malaysia to realistically envisage a positive move towards the establishment of normal relations with Israel.
DR MAHATHIR BIN MOHAMAD
What initiated the Tun to write this letter can be attributed to the acts of Barak's predecessor, Netanyahu, many of which undermined agreements that had been reached by the Oslo Accord. One even led to full fledged military conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis. (see my previous post)
In the 1999 Prime Ministerial election, Barak beat Binyamin Netanyahu by a wide margin on a campaign promise to end Israel's 22-year long occupation of Southern Lebanon within a year.
This would have given rise Tun Mahathir being optimistic to a furtherance of the Oslo Accord by a new Israeli Prime Minister with the anti-occupation plan as the Tun said, "It is therefore our hope to see the mutual implementation of the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel."
This optimism would prove to be justified when Barak kept that promise, On 24 May 2000 Israel withdrew from Southern Lebanon and Barak did take part in the Camp David 2000 Summit which was meant to finally resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but failed.
Even going through this letter with a fine tooth comb the only nexus anyone can come about with Anwar Ibrahim's "support for all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel" is the Tun's, "Malaysia is of the firm conviction that the security of all countries in West Asia can only be assured with the establishment of a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the region."
Surely this is a distinct dissimilarity, while Anwar contends that his statement is contingent to respecting Palestinian aspirations, Tun Mahathir goes further "Malaysia is of the firm conviction that the security of all countries in West Asia can only be assured with the establishment of a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the region."
If there are those who would want to make anything of what the Tun wrote "It is my sincere hope that the attainment of a comprehensive settlement in the region would allow Malaysia to realistically envisage a positive move towards the establishment of normal relations with Israel.", it means what it means.
"Normal relations" definition can be found in my first post on the Mahathir letters.
( Final post next)