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11th December 2017

The Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein was reported (The Sun Daily dated 9 December 2017) to have said that the Malaysian Armed Forces is ready to deploy troops to Jerusalem, in a mission that has remained mysterious for the moment. He further said, "the military is waiting for instruction (or its orders), from the top leadership on the move". To date, not a single statement has been made by the Armed Forces leadership regarding troops deployment to Jerusalem, or at least confirm the declaration made by the Defence Minister. 

Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan takes a very cautious view on the deployment of Malaysian troops overseas, especially into Jerusalem where it is considered a zone of conflict between Palestine and Israel. The Malaysian Armed Forces had dispatched troops overseas, but in missions that are sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). In the case of Jerusalem, the decision by the President of United States to recognize, whether directly or indirectly, the disputed city of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, is unilateral. It is not sanctioned by the UN and as such, Jerusalem remains legally a Palestinian territory. This therefore created a highly contentious situation that is certain to result in military confrontation between the Palestinians and Israelis. 

If indeed the Armed Forces will be dispatching troops to Jerusalem in the forthcoming weeks or months, there are several questions that need to be answered.

  1. Under whose command will our troops be placed? 
  2. What would be the force level needed for such a mission, and how will the force be structured? 
  3. Which authority makes the final decision to deploy troops in a mission that is not sanctioned by the UNSC? 
  4. The approving authority must understand that deploying troops into a zone of conflict is unlike deploying troops in UNSC sanctioned peacekeeping duties. Fatal casualties are expected. Are the approving authorities willing to accept full responsibility for placing our troops in harm's way? 
  5. Will the government take this issue to parliament for debate? 
  6. Is the Armed Forces leadership confident that our troops are competent and fully trained to face the nature of the impending threats in an unfamiliar zone of conflict or even battlefield?

Whatever reasons the government has to deploy our troops to serve in a zone of conflict in a land that is alien to our troops, it must be given serious thought and consideration. Furthermore, the international conflict in Jerusalem is a political issue. It is best left to diplomacy to sort out this historical mess. If diplomacy fails, the next course of action can be international condemnation. Blindly making a declaration to commit our troops is unwise. 

Reference article from:

BG Dato Mohd Arshad Raji (Rtd)
President - Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan