No winner in upsurge of Israel, Gaza conflict, says SM Tharman

Fire engulfs a building destroyed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City, on May 13, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The upsurge in conflict in Israel and Gaza will not bring any solution to Palestinians in Gaza or bring lasting security to Israel, said Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Thursday (May 13), who called for de-escalation.

He was wishing Muslims and all Singaporeans Selamat Hari Puasa "as we celebrate life in a peaceful, multicultural country".

He compared the peace enjoyed by Singaporeans to what is happening Israel and Gaza.

"Spare a thought for the ordinary people and children suffering from the terrifying upsurge of conflict over the last week in Israel and Gaza.

"The conflict strengthens the hand of the hardliners on both sides.

"It will bring no solution to the misery of the Palestinians trapped in Gaza, nor offer Israel any lasting security," said Mr Tharman, who is also Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, on Facebook.

"What is extremely dangerous also is the new phase of violent conflict, taking place in Israel itself.

"What started with Palestinian protests against efforts to displace them from their homes in East Jerusalem, has led to rioting and violence between Arab Israelis and Jews in cities across Israel, where they have long grown up and lived together as Israelis."

Mr Tharman urged dee-scalation of the conflict and avoiding a repeat of the 2014 Gaza war which killed 2,000 Palestinians and 73 Israelis.

"The more difficult task for Israel, the Palestinians and the world is to find a viable way to restart the peace process.

"The status quo will otherwise remain an open wound, with repeated outbreaks, and repeated suffering. And no winner," he wrote.

Meanwhile, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday that it is "extremely concerned" about the civilian casualties caused by the escalation of violence in Israel and Gaza.

"We call upon all parties to cease attacks against civilian targets and prevent further loss of lives or injuries. We strongly urge all sides to take immediate steps to de-escalate the situation and work towards a durable ceasefire."

"All parties have a responsibility to stop the violence and do their utmost to protect the safety and security of civilians on both sides," a spokesman for the MFA said in a statement, in response to media queries.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.