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Vivian Balakrishnan’s speech on Israel draws mixed responses from netizens

Singapore grapples with diverse opinions on Israel as Foreign Minister Balakrishnan acknowledges concerns but rejects calls to sever ties. Netizens debate the nuanced foreign policy stance following recent parliamentary discussions.



Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan on Israel-Hamas conflict

SINGAPORE: In a parliamentary session on Thursday (29 Feb), Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan expressed concerns about Israel’s military response to the 7 October Hamas attack.

Despite acknowledging that the response had “gone too far,” he emphasized that severing diplomatic ties with Israel would not offer a resolution to the situation or alleviate the suffering of Palestinians.

Dr Balakrishnan addressed MPs’ questions regarding the Israel-Hamas war while outlining his ministry’s budget spending plans for the year.

Despite strong emotions among Singaporeans, he urged citizens not to let the conflict affect the country’s harmony or cohesion, emphasizing the importance of avoiding polarization.

“Whilst we may feel a diversity of emotions on this, the worst thing would be to let this quarrel polarize and divide us as Singaporeans,” he told parliament.

Last October, Hamas, a Palestinian militant group, launched a surprise attack on Israel.

They used rockets from Gaza, killing around 1,200 people and kidnapping numerous civilians.

In response, Israel heavily bombed Gaza, sent in ground troops, and this has resulted in the death and displacement of over 30,000 Palestinians, as reported by the territory’s health ministry.

Dr Balakrishnan reiterated Singapore’s condemnation of the attack and its recognition of Israel’s right to self-defense.

While he previously called for Israel to accept a Palestinian state in November, on Thursday, Dr Balakrishnan stated that Israel’s military response had crossed a critical threshold.

He emphasized the need for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza to address the unbearable suffering of civilian victims and facilitate prompt humanitarian assistance.

Singapore advocates diplomacy and aid for Gaza, rejects calls for severing ties with Israel

Regarding calls to sever diplomatic ties with Israel, Dr Balakrishnan stressed that such a move would not be constructive and would not prompt a change in Israel’s policies or an immediate reduction in Palestinian suffering.

He cited Singapore’s commitment to engaging with the international community and maintaining ties with various countries for its national interests.

Singapore’s position was reaffirmed at the United Nations, where it voted for two resolutions supporting the protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations.

Dr Balakrishnan highlighted that none of the UN Security Council’s permanent members or Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan had severed ties with Israel.

The minister disclosed Singapore’s plan to donate a third tranche of aid for Gaza through Jordan and expressed ongoing support for the Palestinian Authority’s capacity-building efforts with a $10 million Enhanced Technical Assistance Package.

“We do all this because we look forward to the day when there’s peace, and that there is a functioning, capable Palestinian state, and that the Palestinian people get the peace and progress which they so richly deserve.”

Dr Balakrishnan acknowledged the deep sentiments of many Singaporeans regarding the Gaza situation but emphasized that foreign policy should not be driven by sentiment.

Foreign policy should be based on Singapore’s core interests and acting consistently in accordance with the principles that safeguard its independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security, said Dr Balakrishnan.

Singapore advocates diplomatic engagement

In response to Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh’s question on handling foreign policy disagreements, Dr Balakrishnan emphasized the need to maintain diplomatic ties and open channels of communication.

He stressed that performative gestures like formal ties’ severance might not be helpful, and keeping communication channels open allowed Singapore’s positions to be heard and respected.

“We don’t agree with everything that every counterpart in Israel and Arab countries state. But they listen to us. They respect our positions, they work with us to deliver assistance,” Dr Balakrishnan said.

Regarding domestic policies influenced by foreign policy, Dr Balakrishnan clarified that differences with foreign counterparts were expected.

He underscored the importance of maintaining a consistent, principled base to navigate internal and external diversity.

The minister emphasized Singapore’s stance on the release of hostages taken on 7 October, asserting that terrorism and hostage-taking are unequivocally wrong.

Simultaneously, Dr Balakrishnan urged Israel to acknowledge the constraints of pursuing self-defense, emphasizing the timeless wisdom that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”

In conclusion, he reminded everyone of our shared humanity and the universal responsibility to empathize with innocent civilians.

Netizens express diverse views on Singapore’s relationship with Israel

Following Dr Balakrishnan’s speech in Parliament, a range of opinions emerged among netizens.

One commenter agreed with the minister, suggesting that maintaining friendly relations with Israel might actually benefit Palestinians.

They argued that Singapore, being a small country, lacks the influence to affect events in the conflict and severing ties could hinder any potential dialogue with Israel on behalf of the Palestinians.

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Another netizen acknowledged the complexity for the Singapore government, noting the need to balance diplomatic ties with Israel, crucial for defense and financial security, while expressing concerns about the teaching of the Gaza conflict in schools.

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A different perspective emphasized Singapore’s position as a friend to both Israel and Palestine.

The netizen questioned what the global Muslim community wants and reminded that Singapore owes part of its self-defense capabilities to Israel, arguing against severing ties due to the influence of Hamas-controlled Gaza.

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Opposing views surfaced among netizens

One commenter suggested exploring sanctions against Israel, similar to measures taken against Russia, to send a strong signal against their actions in the conflict.


Another accused Singapore of complicity, asserting that by strengthening ties with Israel, the nation is supporting a country engaged in what they describe as a genocide.


One netizen pointed out what they perceived as hypocrisy in Singapore’s actions, referencing financial measures imposed on Russia in response to the Ukraine invasion, questioning why similar actions were not taken against Israel.


Another questioned Singapore’s selective support for sovereignty, noting instances like Grenada, Ukraine, and Cambodia and asking why other conflicts were not similarly addressed.


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This fella also 2 headed snake. Play both sides because he’s a eunuch like his master.

If this was 1942, VB and the PAP will be supporting Germany and Hitler because at State levels diplomatic relations must continue. This was the year two family members who were doctors were shot by the Japanese and one was buried still alive. It is the same as thousands buried alive because of bombing in Gaza. Killing is an act against our creator and all fellow men.

This EGREGIOUS PAP bastard, 1. spent SUPER $20 million Dollars of State Reserves to pour tea, 2. FLASHED $400 million Dollars at young people, the YOG, AND has had YET TO ANSWER to EVERY RIGHTFUL citizen WHAT returns he obtained for each citizen EVERY DOLLAR threw? 3. Refused to spent a few cents to assist the poor in SG WHO aren’t deemed to live decently, just to be better fed when THEY WERE SCOLDED for desiring to eat in posh places (is restaurant a posh place) – YET DELIGHTED himself GLEEFULLY to possibly had OUTWITTED SLA to allow him to… Read more »

Israel= No Hostages, No Cease Fire !!! Simple as that !!!

Why the religious leaders don’t say anything or address the public directly? Minister say these leaders support the gov. line, but why don’t show these leaders telling the public it is not about religion, it is about peace, cannot take hostages, cannot torture/rape/murder hostages in the name of religion, etc?

Strange Bedfellow Vivi Bolakrishnan.
Playing Both Sides, Just To Stay Alive.
Survivalist, like father, like son.

Tsk, tsk, tsk……
VB, not punching above our weight?

Sometimes, feather weight wanna boast.
Sometimes, act bodoh!


Who wants to support terrorists Hamas, Houthis, Hezbollah?

Palestine isn’t it ruled by PLO (a terrorist organization) ? what do you think?

Bye Palestine.

We are a tiny dot country. Someone said do not interfere with foreign politics. so its okay ? What do you think? tsk tsk tsk

Ask that fucking Loong to step down immediately. Pretend like hell … All step down but still around spinning more lies.

Dun need to spin Lies about Sacred Book when all they want is fucking nuclear code to stay permanently in their position. Spin lies and lies and lies. No integrity and No honor men!!!!!

Troubles in Middle East revolves around one sacred book(and its promises)they all shared. The book influenced much of western civilisation(white nations) and even sworn on by the most powerful nation and in courtroom. Your scribes(in government)  grace the corridors of its religious shrine.  Disregarding all the dubious doctrines and religious ideology which have captured the imaginations of our world population or nations, it comes down to one word – government of the most high.  Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with… Read more »

VB, is great at distraction. He talks about cohesiveness of our community but does not talk about the needed response to Israel ‘s genocide by the State. He talks about how it is in the interest of the State to act in a certain manner but fails to explain why this kind of behaviour towards Israel has only reinforced Israel to commit hideous atrocious acts in Gaza. He fails to see that he is committing the State and all citizens to support Israel as we need them for our defence and have much dealings with them. He is a hypocrite… Read more »

Small country like SG better dun kaypor too much. Sad for the lives lost (both Israeli hostages and Gaza civilians) but this is NOT really our fight. VB seems to seek attention on the world stage for himself because he is the worst FM we ever had.

But like his Boss, worst PM we ever had.
Election results – worst in our history.
COL – worst in decades
Economic growth – worst for past 10+ years

Oh, can anyone detect the trend under the Kayu Boy?

Lip service only. The truth is Singapore is turn into America dog by money.

What is ‘gone too far?’ How far do you want Israel to go which is not far?

in the 1st place, looks like you are already taking sides with this comment.

how about any comments you have not said on Hamas? Has the Palestinians also gone too far?

World Atlas of today does not have a map called “PALESTINE”.

The people there are either Israelis, Gazans and West Bankers.

There has never been a Palestine sovereign entity, state, country, kingdom or empire.

The Israel- Hamas conflict IS NOT about land.

It is a religious war with political aspects.