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Malaysia’s ‘in the Closet’ Trade with Israel

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One

While Malaysia has to pay lip service to its population, which is dominantly pro-Palestinian, the country has a thriving if covert trade relationship with Israel.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak visited Hamas controlled Gaza and said the Palestinian people were “suppressed and oppressed.” (By whom? Israel or Hamas?) However, Malaysia’s trade with Israel has mushroomed, doubling since 2013, according to the Times of Israel, up to $1.59 billion. Israeli exports to Malaysia grew 27% over the previous year. However, when Malaysia reports its trade figures, Israel is not mentioned and is listed under “other countries.” Israeli trade to Malaysia often uses third-party countries like Singapore, so trade is harder to track. But there is no doubt it is going on and is growing stronger.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Paul Hirschson, said the volume of trade with Malaysia was “pleasantly surprising, ” and saw such covert trade as a “stepping stone” to dealing with more hostile states.

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