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Shanmugam Says S'pore Must Not Let Israel-Hamas Conflict Destabilise Country & Affect Peace

Shanmugam Calls For Greater Alertness Amidst Israel-Hamas Conflict To Protect Peace In Singapore

As war continues to rage between Israel and Palestine militant group Hamas, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has spoken out about the conflict.

During a press conference, Mr Shanmugam stressed that Singapore must not allow the Israel-Hamas conflict to affect its “precious peace” and destabilise it.

Stating that this is going to be a tough period, he also called for Singaporeans to be more alert and careful as the country is an attractive target.

Shanmugam Israel-Hamas conflictShanmugam Israel-Hamas conflict

Source: K Shanmugam Sc on Facebook

Furthermore, he condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel, saying that the acts of violence cannot be justified by any rationale whatsoever.

Israel-Hamas conflict will deepen divides within Southeast Asia: Shanmugam

While speaking to reporters yesterday (12 Oct), Mr Shanmugam said that the Israel-Hamas conflict has already evoked a lot of emotions across the world, including Southeast Asia.

Touching on the disparity between people’s reactions, he remarked, “As the conflict unfolds, these divides are inevitably going to become deeper.”

As such, he stressed that Singapore must not let external events affect the country’s internal situation.

“In terms of our own religious harmony and understanding, we are in a fairly good position,” he said.

He went on to praise the amount of mutual respect and trust between people of different religions and races.

Additionally, he cited a study by the Pew Research Centre, which found Singaporeans to be greatly tolerant towards and accepting of various religions.

The study also highlighted Singapore’s religious diversity by pointing out that no more than one-third of the population follows one religion. This is in stark contrast to most other countries in Southeast Asia which has a single large religious majority.

Calling what Singapore has built over the years “precious”, Mr Shanmugam then said everyone must do their best to protect it.

Shanmugam reiterates Singapore’s stance on two-state solution for Israel & Palestine

Additionally, Mr Shanmugam condemned the terrorist attack by Hamas and acts of violence as a whole.

Shanmugam Israel-Hamas conflictShanmugam Israel-Hamas conflict

Source: Mahmud Hams for AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian

He admitted that Israel will react to Hamas’ strike with “full might”. However, he added that the response should align with international law and rules of war.

Indeed, Israel said yesterday (12 Oct) that it has dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza over the past six days, resulting in over 1,400 casualties, according to Al Jazeera.

Mr Shanmugam then reiterated Singapore’s stance on the Israel-Palestine conflict, which is to negotiate a two-state solution.

The solution would allow both Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side peacefully as independent states.

According to The Straits Times (ST), the two-state solution is also consistent with the relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

In July, Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean met with Palestinian President Isaac Herzog and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At the time, he called the two-state solution the only “viable” option to the two nations’ longstanding conflict.

Security agencies in Singapore monitoring situation & stepping up measures

Besides that, Mr Shanmugam revealed that security agencies in Singapore are watching the situation closely to prevent any terrorist uprisings.

He also mentioned that they have stepped up measures such as patrolling at certain events and places.

They have reassessed security at places with possible targets as well, and beefed up security at higher-risk places.

In addition to that, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) have also stepped up measures.

However, Mr Shanmugam stopped short of sharing exact plans, citing “operational reasons”.

He then asked Singaporeans to be extra alert and careful during this time, as Singapore is considered an “attractive target”.

To bring the point home, he referenced past Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees who fell prey to “pro-Hamas narratives”.

One had intended to travel to Gaza to fight alongside the militant group. Another had planned a knife attack against Jews at a synagogue in Singapore.

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Featured image adapted from K Shanmugam Sc on Facebook and Mahmud Hams for AFP/Getty Images via The Guardian

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