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Malaysian Leader’s Gaza Visit Mostly a Domestic Political Play

Catherine Cheney Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak visited the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, marking the first time a leader of the majority-Muslim Southeast Asian nation has visited the Palestinian enclave controlled by Hamas.

While Najib said his visit was a humanitarian mission intended to “express deep concern” over “what is happening to the Palestinian people in Gaza,” Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Hamas’ rival Fatah, said the visit would worsen divisions between the two Palestinian factions. Two experts who spoke with Trend Lines pointed to Malaysian domestic politics in the run-up to general elections that Najib must call within the next several months as the true reason for the trip. ...

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