Former President Halimah Yacob: Violence and destruction in Gaza is a degradation of humanity


Former President Halimah Yacob has described the increasing violence and destruction in Gaza as a degradation of humanity and called on those involved to stand on the side of humanity.

In a Facebook post, Madam Halimah recounted how the ongoing conflict in Gaza is disturbing on many fronts. 

Israel had intensified attacks in Rafah, the southern city in Gaza along the Egypt border where about 1.4 million Palestinians have sought refuge. 

The territory’s escalating death toll, estimated by the Gaza health authorities to be nearly 30,000 people,mostly women and children, has sparked increased international concern, with ceasefire efforts under way.

Madam Halimah said the “degradation of the human soul” is apparent when food trucks which were promised safe passage into Gaza were bombed. She cited how soldiers from the Israel Defence Forces celebrated after blasting Palestinian homes, and how grandmothers and mothers proudly declared they would not allow food trucks to reach the suffering Palestinians, including many children.    

“Our natural instincts are to protect the weakest and most vulnerable amongst us. What’s happened to the human soul? After this is over, will the same people be able to live with their consciences knowing that they contributed to the deaths and destruction of thousands of innocent lives?” she said. 

Madam Halimah said: “The degradation of the human souls is obvious as the world dithers in ceasefire efforts. International laws and international bodies are rendered irrelevant.” She added the consensus built after the horrors of World War 2 to protect the innocents during wars has been severely compromised.  

Singapore supports an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip to facilitate the urgent delivery of aid to affected civilians and calls for the safe, immediate, and unconditional release of all civilian hostages.  

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Maliki Osman. who is also Second Minister for Foreign Affairs, reiterated Singapore’s stance on the ongoing conflict at the Group of 20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Feb 21 and 22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Singapore has also long held the position that the only viable path to a durable, just, and comprehensive resolution to the longstanding conflict is a negotiated two-state solution consistent with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The escalating Israel-Hamas conflict is an issue many Singaporeans are concerned with. Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong had said that Singapore will act in accordance with our national interest, and that means consistently choosing principles and international law. Beyond upholding our national interests, he stressed we must not allow such external events to divide Singaporeans. Singapore must remain cohesive and united as a society, to keep Singapore safe and secure. 

The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip has arisen from Israeli military operations in response to the attacks by Hamas on Israel on Oct 7 last year that killed at least 1,400 people.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs previously said that Hamas’s acts of terror cannot be justified; Israel has the legitimate right to defend its citizens and its territory, but it must comply with international law and do its utmost to protect the safety and security of civilians.