Israeli presence may harm the existing ties within the communities and further complicate the ethnic conflict.
Few decades ago when Israel celebrated its “Independence Day”, in secrecy in Colombo, veteran leftist politician Sarath Muttetuwegama asked in the parliament” what audacity Israel, international pariah, got to celebrate its sham of independence in a respected third world capital like Colombo.
Those were the days, especially in the early 1970s when Sri Lanka’s highly principled foreign policy was admired in the entire third world. However, Israel which remains unchanged and continuing its barbarities unabated, is accepted with all respects and Palestinians virtually ignored.
As part of this growing presence Israel, the most condemned entity by United Nations, celebrated its so called “Independence Day” in Colombo at a function held at Galle Face Hotel last week.
It was attended by newly appointed Foreign Minister Ravi Karunaratne, ministers and others from the government and business circles. Most of them, perhaps do not know Israel’s blood soaked background.
The never answered question is from whom did Israel gain independence? This is yet another deception to hoodwink the world. Israel, godfather of terrorism, massacres and genocides, was planted in Palestine, in the heart of Middle East, by United States, Britain, France and Russia to destabilize Middle East. Israel’s crime records were well documented.
Israel sought to establish closer ties with Sri Lanka as early as 1950s. It was during Prime Minister W Dahanayake’s period a non-resident ambassador was appointed to Israel in 1958, but he was recalled by late Prime Minister Mrs Srimavo Bandaranaike. The Sri Lankan Ambassador to Rome looked after the Israeli affairs during the UNP government between 1965 and 1970.
During the 1970, general elections expelling the Israeli mission in Colombo was a pledge by the United Front. Fulfilling her promise Mrs Srimavo Bandaranaike closed the Israeli mission in Colombo despite threats of economic boycott. It was during her time in the mid 1970s the Palestine Liberation Organisation opened its representative office which was elevated to full embassy status in 1982.
The island’s fiercely independent foreign policy and the overall attitude towards Israel was such that in 1979, Sri Lankan Cricket Team refused to play its match against Israel in the 15-nation qualifying competition in the 2nd Prudential World Cricket Competition in England.
Following the July 1983 anti-Tamil riots late President Jayewardene turned to Israel for assistance to deal with the rising Tamil militancy in the north. This led to the establishment of an Israeli Interest Section in the United States Embassy in Colombo with David Matna, later reported belonging to Israeli intelligence service, Mossad, appointed as resident head.
Muslims opposed the move. Leading a delegation senior Muslim politician and Chairman of UNP Dr M.C.M. Kaleel met late President Jayewardene to express Muslim concerns. But dismissing them President Jayewardene stated “well, I will go even to devil to get help. If the Muslims wanted they can remain in the government, otherwise they can leave”.
Muslim parliamentarians were placed in an embarrassing and helpless situation and Foreign Minister A.C.S. Hameed was forced to defend the move. This was one of the reasons why the frustrated Muslims, especially those in the east, turned to Sri Lanka Muslim Congress to raise their voice, though it later ended up as disaster.
Under these growing ties Israeli President Chaim Herzog paid an official visit to Sri Lanka in 1986.
It was proved time and again that Israelis have no special feelings for Sri Lanka though they trained both Sri Lankan Army and LTTE cadres in the same area at the same time. Israel consider Sri Lanka “as an undeveloped and uncivilised country with monkey like people who are not long out of the trees and should not expect much” as disclosed in the book “By Way of Deception; The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer” by Victor Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy.
This book came out with startling revelations of Sri Lanka’s secret relations with Israel and in view of their seriousness President Ranasinghe Premadasa appointed a presidential commission of inquiry into allegations. Among those who gave evidence was eminent journalist Mervyn de Silva.
He stated as follows: “It was wrong to have assumed that Israel’s national interests coincided with Sri Lanka’s national interests, and more particularly with Sinhalese interests, and that it was wrong again to have assumed that the Israelis would be satisfied with the unique but humble status of an “interest section”, that they would serve our interests faithfully and then politely leave when we ask them to go away. The elementary fact of Israel’s foreign policy is that the national interest of Israel is the ultimate test and that the Israelis pursue this with cold blooded calculation. It was Israel’s “Dream of Asia” and its desire to establish a diplomatic base in India to fill the vacuum between Israel and Burma, which constituted their main objective.
Finally, President Ranasinghe Premadasa closed the Israeli Interest Section in Colombo on 20 April 1990 and discontinued diplomatic relations with Israel.
Once again Secret talks between Israel and Sri Lanka began in 1996 when the then Foreign Minister late Lakshman Kadirgamar was hospitalized in New Delhi. Israeli ambassador in New Delhi, accompanied by the then Indian Ambassador in Colombo Sivashankar Menon who was earlier the Indian ambassador in Israel before coming to Sri Lanka, visited Mr. Kadirgamar in the hospital. According to informed sources the Israeli ambassador had visited Mr. Kadirgamar frequently in the hospital and these secret contacts led to the low-profile resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries in June 2000.
It was former president Mahinda Rajapaksa who established diplomatic ties and opened the door for Israel. In fact, anti-Muslim campaign under Rajapaksa regime coincided with the arrival of Israel and a German Jew even gifted a house in Galle to BBS at a ceremony attended by former Défense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The first high profile visit to Israel was of Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake in March 2008 followed by the visit of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and many others.
With the change of government in January 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe rolled red carpet to Israel which had successfully penetrated the pro-western mainstream local media to brainwash and deceive Sri Lankans using ill-informed journalists.
Thus, Sri Lanka’s policy towards Israel and Palestine changed though Israeli atrocities towards Palestinians continue unabated besides playing a crucial role with US, UK and France in turning the region into killing fields.
For long the island’s growing ties with Israel have been cause for serious concern among the Muslim community which fears that this may spell disaster for them. Now the fear has come true with BBS and other racists, suspected to have been supported by Israel through Norway, attack Muslims.
Indications are that Israeli presence may harm the existing ties within the communities and further complicate the ethnic conflict. Ends