Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a news conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia on November 5.

The Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has maintained his support for Palestinian resistance against Israel defying Western pressure saying, “Palestine is colonised through apartheid, ethnic cleansing and now genocide, whatever happened is the legitimate right and struggle of the Palestinian people.”

Malaysia will maintain ties with Hamas and will not “punish the group as a terrorist organisation,” he said on Tuesday 7 November. Israel has been peddling  its narrative of fighting terrorism while killing thousands of people in Gaza now for more than month.

Anwar was replying to a question in the Malaysian Parliament about whether Malaysia risks economic repercussions given calls in the United States, including a proposed bill to sanction on foreign supporters of the Hamas group following its 7 October attack on Israel.

This action is unilateral and not valid, because we as members of the United Nations only recognize decisions made by the UN Security Council,he said.

Both Malaysia, and neighbouring Indonesia, unlike many Arab nations who have been compromised by Israel, has been more vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause for decades.

They have long maintained it will not diplomatically recognise Israel until a genuine solution has been achieved giving Palestinians their freedom.

Anwar has pushed back against pressure to distance Malaysia from supporting Palestinian resistant movements and supporting a global campaign for Palestinian people.

On Wednesday 22 October, thousands of Malaysians waving Palestinian flags and carrying banners calling for peace gathered in the capital Kuala Lumpur to express solidarity with Palestinians.

Two days later on Friday 24 October,  Anwar said he rejected pressure from Western countries to condemn Hamas, during a separate pro-Palestinian rally at Malaysia’s national stadium with cheers from the crowd.

“Malaysia is a fiercely independent country. We decide what is right,” he said on stage at the rally. “We want the Arabs, Palestinians and people of Gaza to be treated as human beings. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Advocates for Palestine contend that colonialists, occupiers and apartheid regimes do not have the right to defend their occupation and apartheid system; it’s the occupied who have all the right in international law to defend themselves and liberate their country.

Israel is not an innocent party under attack and defending itself as it portrays itself in the international media. It is a colonial settler apartheid regime established on the ruins of Palestine and at the expense and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people following their catastrophe (al-Nakba) in 1948, the year Israel was created.

“To say Israel has the right to defend itself is like saying the rapist and abuser has the right to defend himself because his victim hit him.”