SINGAPORE — Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Wednesday (Oct 18) sent condolence letters to their Palestinian counterparts after a blast at a hospital in Gaza.
Hundreds of Palestinians were killed in the Al-Ahli al-Arabi Hospital blast on Tuesday, which was the bloodiest single incident in Gaza in the current Israel-Hamas conflict.
“I am deeply saddened by the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the loss of Palestinian civilian lives including the tragic toll at the Ahli Arab Hospital on Oct 17, 2023,” Mr Lee said in a letter to Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
“On behalf of the Government of Singapore, I offer our deep condolences to the families of the bereaved.”
Singapore hopes that all parties involved will abide by international humanitarian law and do their utmost to ensure the security and safety of civilians, Mr Lee added.
In his letter, Mr Lee also told Dr Shtayyeh that the Singapore Government has contributed S$300,000 towards humanitarian aid, in response to the worsening humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
In his letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Mr Tharman said that he has been “deeply concerned by the dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the immense loss of life and suffering dealt on innocent civilians”.
“These have arisen from Israeli military operations in response to the attacks by Hamas on Israel on Oct 7,” he said.
“On behalf of the Singapore people, I extend our deepest sympathies to the wounded and the families of the bereaved.
“Singapore urges all parties to do their utmost to protect the safety and security of civilians, abide by international humanitarian law, and allow for the urgent delivery of aid to the affected civilians in the Gaza Strip.”
In Dr Balakrishnan’s letter to Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riad Al Malki, he said that he was “extremely saddened by the mounting civilian toll in the Gaza Strip” and the loss of lives after the hospital blast.
He expressed his deepest condolences to the affected families.
“I am also deeply concerned by the increasingly dire humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip,” he wrote.
“The Singapore Government, the Singapore Red Cross and people of Singapore are raising funds to support the humanitarian needs in Gaza.
“We also endorse international calls for humanitarian assistance to be delivered to the Gaza Strip on an urgent basis.”
In their letters, Mr Lee, Mr Tharman and Dr Balakrishnan all reiterated Singapore’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“A negotiated two-state solution with Palestinians and Israelis living side-by-side in peace and security is the only viable way to break the repeated cycles of violence,” Mr Lee said.
“I hope all parties will find ways to achieve this vision, consistent with the relevant UN (United Nations) Security Council resolutions.”
Mr Tharman said he hoped that all sides would “find a way to work towards this critical goal”.
Dr Balakrishnan said Singapore believes that a negotiated two-state solution consistent with relevant UN Security Council resolutions “is essential for a durable, just and comprehensive solution to this long-standing conflict”.
Mr Lee on Oct 8 sent his condolences to the government and people of Israel following the attacks by Hamas in the country on Oct 7.
He wrote to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to say that he was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of so many Israeli lives.
“Singapore strongly condemns the attacks, and the murder and abduction of innocent civilians. Such acts cannot be justified by any rationale whatsoever,” he wrote in a letter dated Oct 8.
“I am confident that Israel will remain strong and united to overcome the difficult challenges ahead,” he added. CNA
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