Damanhuri Abas: I Protest Benjamin Netanyahu’s Planned Visit To Singapore

I read with great consternation that Singapore will be hosting the Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu as a state guest.

The Israeli PM is directly responsible for the current continued oppression of the Palestinian people through its illegal occupation of Gaza and the West Bank as stated by numerous UN resolutions which Israel continuously ignores with the shameful backing of the US government. Its occupying forces conducts numerous crimes against Palestinian civilians and its forces have conducted many agressions in occupied Palestinian territories that are culpable to war crimes, as recent as the last Gaza incursion in 2014 that claims thousands of Palestinian lives through excessive use of powerful bombs on densely populated Palestinian residential areas.

The Singapore government may seem to think that it is acceptable to host the Israeli PM afterall the Israelis are the pioneering country that provided military assistance in terms of training and guidance to the Singapore Armed Forces when Singapore first setup its nascent military defence unit after independence.

It serves as no great solace to know that we had relied on Israeli military advice and guidance in the formation of our Armed Forces. This is especially so as a Malay/Muslim Singaporean who has felt direct discrimination towards his race in the Singapore Armed Forces.

This discrimination has most probably arisen from the advice and guidance of the Israeli military consultants who may have sowed distrust towards the Malay/Muslim citizens serving the Singapore Armed Forces likely rationalized and justified by their own experience and paranoia towards the Palestinan people (and the Arabs too) that they have kept under siege for 60 years encounting with no end to hostility nor nearing any peaceful settlement to the last remaining illegal occupation to exist on God’s earth.

Such inhumane treatment that the Israelis imposed upon the Palestian people in the occupied territories has resulted in extreme distrust between them and the Palestinians and overtime have led to a toxic unsustainable relationship based on fears and suspicion with no end in sight.

Likewise, a toxic relationship too may have emerged in our own land caused by our own policies for the last 50 years that blankets the entire Malay/Muslim population as suspicious and not to be fully trusted to be given full access to all military positions, especially so-called ‘sensitive areas’ in the Singapore Armed Forces. This unjustified and unproven fears that have shaped and colored policies preventing Malay/Muslim citizens full meritocratic access to all possible ranks and files in the military must end immediately.

Only when this happens will the process of correction and rapprochement begin to eradicate the poisoned perceptions that have developed overtime by the majority towards Malay/Muslim trustworthiness in and beyond the Military into other aspects of society. This disriminatory policy must stop for the sake of fairness, justice and a true harmonious multi-racial/multi-religious Singapore that we intend to build for this nation.

For all the above reasons, as a Malay/Muslim Singaporean I protest the coming of Mr Benjamin Netanyahu to my country. He is also an alleged war criminal.

I forward below an email from our very own Dr Ang Swee Chai from Medical Aid for Palestinian, a London based NGO, in support of my involvement in previous protest effort against the brutal acts of the Israeli government towards the Palestinian people that the invited Isreali PM is currently heading.

—— Forwarded message ———-
From: SWEE ANG <[email protected]>
Date: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 3:08 AM
Subject: In support of your work
To: “[email protected]” <[email protected]>
Cc: AimeeShalan <aimee.sha[email protected]>, stevenjames <[email protected]>

Dear Damanhuri Abas and FMSA,

Thank you for emailing me so that I can support what you and the Fellowship of Muslim Students Association are doing. As you know a ceasefire is in place after 150 Gazans were killed and nearly a thousand injured. As you know Gaza is half the size of Singapore and home to 1.7 million people, 80% of them refugees from the rest of Palestine. They were forced out from the rest of Palestine in 1948 and took refuge in Gaza. Since 2007 Gaza’s people are under constant military blockade. All her borders with Israel are sealed by the military and none can move in or out, except through Rafah which until recently was also closed by President Mubarak. The sea of Gaza is manned by Israeli warships and no one from Gaza can wander beyond 3 nautical miles. The targetting of fishing boats and killing and injury of fishermen by warships firing at them even with the 3 nautical miles are all too often.

Even before this recent assault, military helicopters regularly fly into Gaza and kill and injure civilians. When you hear the word targets mentioned by the BBC and the Western Press, you do not hear the cries of the mothers who lost their babies, who are sometimes just called collateral damage. The skies of Gaza are patrolled by drones and the whole of Gaza is under surveillance and drone attacks are frequent.

Electricity is scarce, many of the 21,000 homes and buildings destroyed from Cast Lead four years ago not rebuilt since there is also a blockade on building materials. The schools destroyed during Cast Lead are also not rebuilt and children are now crammed into whatever school buildings which are still functional. Many people are still living in tents or in temporary buildings. Unemployment is high since factories and workshops cannot function and even if they function the military siege makes it impossible to export their goods and import raw materials. It is the same with agriculture produce – all forms of trade is made impossible by the blockade. Hospitals are starved of medical supplies.

Water is also a problem in Gaza since Israel has dug deep wells and siphoned off the natural water from Gaza. The water from Gaza now is heavily polluted and contains high nitrates and unfit for washing and drinking.

You can find more facts from various sources including from the website of Medical Aid for Palestinians and Palestine Solidarity Campaign – I have only given you a very sketchy description.

So when F16s bomb Gaza the last 9 days, hitting hundreds of “targets” daily, those of us who know Gaza well can only cry out in shock and anger against this atrocity and injustice. Yet many of us are astonished by the courage of people in Gaza in resisting the assault. The ceasefire is agreed on mainly because Israel knows it cannot beat down Gaza despite pounding it incessantly with bombs. They had planned a land invasion but did not go through with it not because they are humane, but because they know they cannot win and do not have the stomach to go through with it. Hilary Clinton got to turn round from her visit to Burma to fly Cairo to support a truce called by the new Egyptian Government.

Your supporters need to know the following:

Israel is the sixth largest military power in the world. In 2009 it has –

200-300 nuclear warheads
300 F16s
60 military helicopters
60 warships
3650 tanks
Plus daily military aid of eight million dollars from the USA ( as opposed to non-military aid) and the huge support of the Western Press and governments.

Palestine has none of the above. Gaza has home made rockets.

But Palestine has truth on her side. Despite the killing and the suppression of truth, people from all over the world are beginning to find out. And I hope your meeting will help others understand what is going on. Up to 1982, I was the victim of lies against the Palestinians until I went out to work in Sabra and Shatilla. By God’s grace I have seen the truth and may this never depart from me.

I hope one day your Association will have the chance to visit Gaza and West Bank, and meet the people there. But until then take it from me that it is a great honour to be able to support them. For me it is a personal privilege that Medical Aid for Palestinians have been able to be partners to the humanitarian Palestinian institutions in Gaza, West Bank and in Lebanon. I hope your institution will be the same.

Best wishes
Dr Ang Swee Chai.
22 November 2012


Source: Damanhuri Abas

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