Did Singapore raise the Gaza humanitarian crisis issue with Israel?

18 Nov

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza deserves our undivided attention.

According to a 15 November Associated Press report, ‘UN closes Gaza aid centers, citing lack of food’, the UN distribution centre in Gaza strip is forced to shut down and turn away people seeking food aid. The same report quoted UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- Moon, urging Israel to ‘open the crossings to humanitarian aid’. Furthermore, he said, ‘measures that increase the suffering of Gaza’s civilians “are unacceptable and should cease immediately” ‘.

Given the close trade and diplomatic relationships between Singapore and Israel, there is a need for Singaporeans and the Singapore government to highlight this particular concern to Israel. At the very least and for a start, we need to urge the Israelis to stop the economic blockade imposed in Gaza which has subjected the population to greater economic misery.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) July 2008 report, ‘Prolonged Crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territory: Socio-economic Developments in 2007, ‘the number of [Gazan] households below the consumption poverty line continued to grow, reaching 51.8 percent for the year as a whole, despite significant amounts of emergency and humanitarian assistance’. On unemployment, ‘when adjusted to account for the sharp increase in unpaid absentee workers… during the second half of the year, joblessness in Gaza between July and December 2007 reached an unprecedented high of 45.3 percent’ (p 7).

In the Think Israel – Issue 23, 14 November 2008 website, it is reported that a parliamentary delegation consisting of Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Member of Parliament and Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Education and Ministry of Home Affairs; MPs Mr Sam Tan, Mr Hri Kumar Nair and Ms Jessica Tan made a trip to Israel from 1 to 6 November.

In that same webpage and issue, the Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP), an NGO in Singapore, organised a networking night between its Muslim Singaporean students and Israeli exchange students.

Given the dire situation in Gaza and Singapore’s close relationship with Israel, concerned Singaporeans have the obligation to ask their governmental representatives if they had raised this issue with the Israeli authorities.

Similarly, a search on the official embassy and AMP websites have not thrown up any related information on the issues discussed amongst the students. Since AMP is an NGO with aims to promote the interests of Muslims in Singapore, its concerns should also be extended to include Muslims in Gaza.

I hope the relevant Singapore authorities and AMP would reply to the queries that has been posed in this letter.

Note: This letter was forwarded to the relevant MPs and ministers who were with the delegation, AMP, and other online blogs who may be interested in highlighting this issue.

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3 Responses to “Did Singapore raise the Gaza humanitarian crisis issue with Israel?”

  1. douglaskev November 24, 2008 at 5:02 am #

    this is one of the many instances of serious problems largely overlooked by the world…

  2. Celine Lim February 1, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

    Hi there, I was wondering if you got any responses to your letters? beyond the auto-responses that the letter has been received and forwarded to the relevant department, thanks for writing in, goodbye, ones…. :p

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