Israeli army soldiers delayed for five hours former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at a border crossing before allowing him to enter the Palestinian areas, sources at the former leader’s associates said.
Mohammad who arrived from Jordan to meet with senior Palestinian officials said on Monday that Israeli guards at the King Hussein crossing ‘humiliated him and his entourage ‘and performed searches through their belongings.
Sources close to Mohammed said the delay caused by guards interrupted the visit that was planned to include Jerusalem and Jenin Refugee camp in addition to Ramallah, where he was slated to meet with his Palestinian counterpart Ahmed Qurei.
Mohammed expressed anger for this delay that caused him to cancel his visit to Jenin and Jerusalem, in addition to the humiliation on the borders.Ã‚Â He expressed hopes to visit east Jerusalem when it is ‘liberated as the capital of the Independent Palestinian State.’Ã‚Â He added that during this visit, he has learned more about the hard situation the Palestinians live.
His meeting with PM Qurei was focused on ways to push forward the Middle East Peace Process.
Qurei on his part condemned the Israel bad treatment to the PA’s guest and expressed hopes that next time he will visit an independent Palestinian state.
Qurei said the Malaysian guest is a good friend of the Palestinian People, and a continuing supporter of its cause.
Mohammed, who quit almost two years ago, is known as a harsh critic of Israel’s policy in the West Bank and Gaza.
Mohammed vowed to invest efforts to help the Palestinian people and said he will talk with different sides on this issue especially with the USA,Ã‚Â He linked between the international terrorism and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
‘It is impossible to put an end to international terrorism as long as the Israeli and American stances towards the Palestinian issue do not change,’ Mohammed stated.
Apparently he is not preferred in Israel.Ã‚Â In a 2003 Islamic conference, Mahathir stirred a row after saying ‘the world’s 1.3 billion Muslims must defeat the Jews, who rule the world.’ Such comments drew harsh condemnation from Israel and the United States; however France thwarted a European condemnation.
On another occasion, Mahathir told al-Jazeera he believes the real objective behind the Iraq war is to protect Israel.