SINGAPORE: Singapore’s former President Halimah Yacob took to her Facebook account on Mon, Oct 30, to express her concern and condemnation of the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
In a heartfelt post, she highlighted the dire situation and the urgent need for international intervention,
Mdm Halimah began her statement by describing the catastrophic conditions in Gaza, where the loss of life has been staggering.
With over 8,000 Palestinians, including more than 3,000 children, reported dead, the toll of this conflict has been devastating.
She emphasized the suffering caused not only by the bombardment but also by the blockade of essential resources such as food, water, and medicine, leaving the population with nowhere to hide.
Despite attempts to move south as advised, Gazans have found no respite from the relentless bombings and destruction.
Mdm Halimah also noted that more than 100 Palestinians in the West Bank have lost their lives in the conflict, and over 1 million Palestinians have been displaced from their homes.
She decried the siege-like conditions that have engulfed Gaza.
Madam Halimah cited the UN Conference on Trade and Development’s (UNCTAD) assessment, which revealed that even before this crisis, Gaza was already grappling with dire economic challenges due to prolonged restrictions, frequent military operations, and infrastructure devastation.
“The situation now is perilous,” she said, emphasizing the need for immediate international action.
Mdm Halimah called on the world not to stand idly by in the face of such immense suffering and destruction.
She stressed the importance of urgent humanitarian intervention, echoing Singapore’s support for the recent UN resolution that called for an immediate humanitarian truce and civilian protection.
Additionally, Mdm Halimah voiced Singapore’s backing of the two-state solution, highlighting the necessity for genuine negotiations to achieve this goal, which requires serious efforts and strong political will.
She stressed the urgency of allowing aid into Gaza to alleviate the suffering of innocent civilians, underlining that international law prohibits collectively punishing civilians who are not responsible for the actions of a few.
“It is wrong to kill and kidnap innocent civilians on 7 October and they must be released, but, international law also prohibits collectively punishing innocent civilians who are not responsible for such actions,” she added.
Madam Halimah Yacob concluded her Facebook post by expressing her heartfelt sympathy for the children who are bearing the brunt of this conflict, and she acknowledged that humanity is being severely tested in this ongoing war.
Netizens’ reactions to Madam Halimah’s statement
In the comments section, many people express their appreciation and gratitude to Mdm Halimah for addressing the ongoing conflict.
One user wrote that “more prominent voices” should make a stand “when gross injustice” is blatantly happening, while adding that “now is not the time to sugar coat our words.”
“This is a crime against humanity. This is ethnic cleansing. This is genocide,” the user said, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
“Let there be peace in Middle East,” he added.
Another user stated: “This is not a war ma’am, this is a genocide clear as day.”
Contrastingly, one user thinks otherwise, calling out the supposed “hypocrisy” of not speaking up during a previous attack by Hamas.
Singapore’s vote in UN
On Oct 27, Singapore had voted in favour of a resolution to protect civilians and uphold legal and humanitarian obligations amid conflict in the Gaza Strip during an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly.
In a statement at the session, Singapore’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Burhan Gafoor, expressed Singapore’s strong support for UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ efforts to maintain the flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.
“We support all efforts to defuse tensions in order to avoid an escalation of the conflict,” he said.
“We mourn the loss and suffering of so many innocent civilians, including children and the elderly.
“(The attack on Oct 7) cannot be condoned or justified by any rationale. We condemn this terrorist attack in the strongest possible terms,” he said, while calling for the immediate and safe release of all hostages held by Hamas.
The resolution received support from 120 countries, while 14 countries voted against it, and 45 abstained from voting.
Singapore’s Law and Home Affairs Minister, K Shanmugam, emphasized that the country’s “major vote” in favour of UN resolution signified a clear stance on Israel-Hamas conflict, with the country taking a clear stand and expressing its concerns at the grave situation on the ground.
“The resolution expressed grave concern at the escalation of violence since Oct 7. It called for immediate, durable, sustained humanitarian truce, leading to a cessation of hostilities. And it called for immediate, continuous and unhindered provision of essential supplies to the civilians in Gaza,” he said.
“And it called for Israel to rescind its evacuation order in the Gaza Strip, and it rejected the forced transfer of Palestinians and reaffirmed that the solution to the conflict should be through a peaceful two-state solution.”
Additionally, he highlighted two areas which the resolution “should have mentioned.”
“One, we must still condemn the terrorist attack by Hamas on Oct 7 which cannot be justified; and two, we need to note also Israel’s right to self-defence, but that right to self-defence cannot include indiscriminate killing of civilians and must be done in accordance with international law,” he said.
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