Mahathir To Launch Viva Palestina Malaysia On Saturday

BERNAMA – January 19, 2011 16:33 PM

Mahathir To Launch Viva Palestina Malaysia On Saturday

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 (Bernama) – Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will launch Viva Palestina Malaysia (VPM), an NGO aimed at seeking a prompt, equitable and sustainable resolution to the conflict in Palestine, at a dinner here on Saturday.

Dr Mahathir said he had agreed to undertake the launch as he supported anyone who cared about the plight of the people in Palestine, especially in Gaza.

VPM (http://www.vivapalestina-my.org), formed at the height of Israel’s attack on Gaza in December 2008, is a coalition of Malaysian NGOs, cutting across racial, religious and political lines.

Viva Palestina was initiated by George Galloway, a former British Member of Parliament known for his vigorous campaigns in favour of the Palestinians in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

“I am supportive of anyone who wants to do something good for the people in Palestine,” said Dr Mahathir, adding that the initiative was also similar to that of the Perdana Global Peace Organisation (PGPO). PGPO was founded by Dr Mahathir to embark on a serious, active and sustained struggle against war and for peace.

Asked how he viewed the eventual resolution of the long-drawn Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Dr Mahathir said it would be extremely difficult if the United States only supported Israel.

He said although the Jews numbered only about 10 million in the United States, the Jewish lobby was very influential in the government, political and media circles.

A dinner talk by Lauren Booth, a broadcaster, journalist, human rights activist and sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will be also held in conjunction with the launch at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel from 8pm.

Booth has been regarded as a strong voice for the Palestinians and has described the situation in Gaza as “a colossal humanitarian crisis” and the place as “the largest concentration camp in the world today”.

Noraini Hashim, VPM’s media/publicity coordinator, said VPM had been working closely with international NGOs and had participated in a land convoy, “A Global Lifeline to Gaza”, to deliver desperately needed aid and bring to the world’s attention that Gaza remained completely under siege from Israel.

She said VPM’s volunteers had witnessed first-hand the devastating effects and the extensive damage inflicted upon Gaza and its people living among the ruins and destruction.

In an effort to help alleviate this pain, Noraini said VPM would be undertaking a number of projects in Gaza designed to create employment opportunities and help provide sustainable long-term benefit.

At the VPM launch, she said, the VPM official theme song would be sung by Dina (Malaysian Idol 1st runner-up) and accompanied by VPM members and their children. The song was written by Anugerah Industri Muzik (AIM) award winner Johan Nawawi and arranged by the international musical arranger, Mac Chew.

There will also be performances by a Japanese rapper on Palestine and Dabka (a Palestine traditional dance) by Palestine students here in Malaysia.

Noraini said VPM hoped that many corporate bodies and individuals would contribute towards the Palestinian cause by purchasing seats at the dinner or taking up advertisement space in a souvenir book. A cheque presentation ceremony will be held for donors who donate more than RM50,000 each.

Details on the dinner can be obtained from Azra Banu at 016-2094500 or Norma Hashim at 012-2221222.

— BERNAMA

BERNAMA – Mahathir To Launch Viva Palestina Malaysia On Saturday.

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