Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina terms Golda Meir as ‘great lady’
Although Bangladesh does not have any diplomatic relations with the State of Israel, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina holds Golda Meir at high esteem stating she is a great lady.
Following landslide victory of Awami League under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina during January 7 general election in Bangladesh, when reporters asked what she feels about victory for a fourth consecutive term in office being the longest serving female head of the government in the world, and as reporters compared her with great and legendary female leaders like Israel’s Golda Meir, former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, Sri Lanka’s Sirimavo Bandanraike, Chandrika Kumaratunga, UK’s Margaret Thatcher and Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto, Sheikh Hasina said, “You mentioned about Mrs Gandhi, Sirimavo Bandaranaike or Golda Mier. They’re great ladies. I am not. I’m very simple, just a common person. I feel I am just a common person”.
In my opinion, this is truly an extremely praiseworthy remark by Bangladesh’s prime minister as our constitutional direction about country’s foreign policy is – friendship with all and malice with none. This is for the very first time any head of the government of a Muslim nation has termed Golda Meir as great lady. This very comment by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina hopefully shows – the country is going to reboot its Middle East policy soon and end decades-old hostility towards the Jewish State, which was injected into Bangladesh’s foreign policy by the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman – particularly Khondoker Mostaq Ahmed and later military dictator Maj Gen Ziaur Rahman.
It may be mentioned here that, on February 4, 1972, Israel sent a letter to the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recognizing the newly born nation. Prior to this, Israel had offered support to Bengali freedom fighters during their struggle against Pakistani occupation forces. However, Khondoker Mostaq Ahmed, one of the killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, declined the Israeli recognition. Mostaq was the Foreign Minister at the time, had secretly turned down the Israeli recognition at the advice of his Pakistani masters.
It may also be mentioned here that, Palestine and its leaders including Yasser Arafat had been violently and openly opposed to the war of independence of Bangladesh in 1971. According to documented facts, during the war of independence of Bangladesh, Mohammed Amin al-Husseini, a Palestinian Arab nationalist and Muslim leader in “Mandatory Palestine” had openly called upon the Muslim nations to extend support towards Pakistan.
Yasser Arafat, at the request of Pakistan had travelled to a number of countries with the agenda of getting support towards Pakistani occupation forces. In Arafat’s eyes, Bengali freedom fighters were seen as “terrorists”.
With such historic fact of how Pakistan succeeded in using its agents in Bangladesh in pushing the newly-born country towards enmity with Israel for the “crime” of the Jewish State’s support towards Bangladesh’s war of independence.
While Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has termed Golda Meir as great lady, it may be mentioned here that Golda Meir served as the fourth prime minister of Israel from 1969 t0 1974. She was the first and only female head of the government of the Jewish State and first female head of government in the Middle East.
As for Sheikh Hasina – during her straight fourth term, it is essential to be tough on terrorists, jihadists and Caliphate-mongers, such as Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) and their cohorts, Bangladesh certainly needs to reboot its foreign policy and come up with a new approach. Sheikh Hasina needs to initiate the process of normalizing relations with Israel, which can at the same time open the prospect for her in playing important role in ending conflicts in the Middle East and ensure peace.