How will Myanmar people view the Palestine-Israel issue?



Myanmar Spring Chronicle – October 11 Scenes

MoeMaKa, October 12, 2023

How will Myanmar people view the Palestine-Israel issue?

When I was young, I delved into two translated books: “The Birth of a Nation” and “The Destruction of a Nation,” penned by Maung Moe Thu (titled “Exodus” for “Birth of a Nation”) and Maung Paw Tun (entitled “Chief” for “Destruction of a Nation”).

The novel vividly portrays the Arab-Israeli conflict and was authored by Leon Uris, an American writer. It is often regarded as a fictional political propaganda piece favoring Israel and its citizens. During that era, it served not only as an engaging political narrative for Myanmar readers who lived under the constraints of the Socialist Regime but also as a lens through which they could view the real-world Arab-Israeli conflict.

Within the pages of this novel, the narrative unfolds, depicting Muslim Palestinians grappling with internal conflicts and extremism, while Judaic Israelis stand united, emerging from adversity to savor the rewards of their collective endeavors and sacrifices.

Myanmar is a nation where various ethnic groups coexist. However, it must be acknowledged that, up until the Spring Revolution, the prevailing sentiment leaned towards the perception that the Buddhist majority enjoyed certain privileges, while followers of other religions, notably Christians and Muslims, faced varying degrees of discrimination. Consequently, this led to an atmosphere of mistrust and religious disparity rather than fostering close understanding among different religious communities.

Because of this, ethnic and religious tensions in Myanmar have led to generations of bloody conflicts between the majority population of Myanmar and Muslims. The most significant incident was the failure of the government members and the majority of Myanmar’s population to condemn the Myanmar military for committing war crimes. These crimes involved the forceful displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people across the border in response to a terrorist attack by the ARSA armed group in Rakhine State during the government of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Now, in the face of the Spring Revolution, NLD MPs and the current CRPH NUG NUCC revolutionary organizations have recognized the importance of the Rohingya issue. They have expressed their stance with the international community, advocating for the need to hold the Myanmar military accountable at the ICC and ICJ. It’s worth noting that while individuals and groups have previously championed the Rohingya issue, it’s only now that Myanmar’s revolutionary forces are expressing their collective solidarity.

Now, in early October 2023, the war between Israel and Palestine has started again. The Palestinian organization called Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the international community, invaded Israeli territory, brutally killed more than a of thousand of civilians, and started a war. Because of this, the Israeli side is carrying out the strongest counter-attack and assault, resulting in casualties for thousands of Palestinians. So far, instead of slowing down, the war is only going to accelerate.

At the same time, it will be interesting to see how Myanmar’s individual and in groups by political interests will consider the Israel-Palestine issue.

They usually stand up for the people of Israel who are under attack and condemn the violent and murderous acts of Hamas. However, how can we respond when the defenseless Palestinian population is enduring the consequences of war? Furthermore, when considering how to formulate a statement on Israel and Palestine, taking into account historical background information, the political stances of neighboring countries, and various group affiliations, it becomes evident that finding straightforward answers is more challenging than one might expect.

The US government, the European Union, and the British government, longstanding allies, have declared their military support for the Israeli government. In contrast, terrorist organizations situated in Syria, Iran, and Lebanon, which are officially designated as such, express support for Hamas. However, countries with recognized state power and governments, such as Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Russia, and China, cannot openly endorse Hamas, nor can they provide unequivocal support to the Israeli government.

The question is, what does it have to do with Myanmar?

Regarding those in government, they hold the prerogative to decide whether to issue a statement or not. They can choose to release a statement expressing deep concern and condolences. However, as individuals or non-governmental groups, what stance should we adopt? As a collective, our allegiance should be to justice and those who have suffered losses. There’s no necessity for the people of Myanmar to feel compelled to side entirely with either the Israelis or Palestinians.

In Israel, citizens display a robust national spirit as they willingly return to conflict zones and volunteer for roles within their capabilities. When summoned to serve in the military during emergencies, they comply without hesitation.

Conversely, the people of Palestine are victims of the actions of the terrorist groups that have gripped their region. Despite their victimhood, they offer mutual support and endure the hardships of war. They seek assistance from neighboring nations and strive to share the truth about the plight of the Palestinian people with the global community, minimizing damage stemming from internal conflicts and factional divisions.

For the people of Myanmar, these situations provide valuable lessons about the resilience of the Israeli national spirit and evoke deep sympathy for the Palestinians, who find themselves as vulnerable victims. Furthermore, it underscores the importance of our efforts to prevent extremism and internal conflicts from taking root within our own nation.