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Israeli ambassador apologises for a sensitive post on Palestine published in March: Minister

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Singapore, May 8: Israel’s Ambassador to Singapore Eliyahu Vered Hazan has apologised for a Facebook post on Palestine that its embassy here published in March, Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam said on Wednesday.

Ambassador Hazan in a meeting with Shanmugam last week said it was wrong for the post to have been put up and that the post was not authorised by him, Shanmugam told Parliament.

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The ambassador has also assured that the officer responsible will be sent back, Shanmugam said.

“And he said that this will never happen again.”

The minister was responding to a question by Member of Parliament Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim who asked whether further steps would be taken in this matter and the person responsible would enjoy diplomatic immunity.

In a Facebook post on March 24, the embassy compared mentions of Israel and Palestine in the Quran and added that documents and maps “link the land of Israel to the Jewish people as the indigenous people of the land”.

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The post said, “Israel is mentioned 43 times in the Quran. On the other hand, Palestine is not mentioned even once.”

“Each and every archaeological evidence – maps, documents, coins, link the land of Israel to the Jewish people as the indigenous people of the land.”

The post has since been removed.

Singapore, a multi-racial nation, is home to a considerable number of Malays who are Muslim.

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Singapore’s Ministry of Home Affairs had informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which had told Israel’s embassy to immediately take down the post.

The minister said the police received a report on the post and assessed in consultation with the Attorney-General’s Chambers that “no further action was to be taken”.

“The Israeli embassy’s actions are covered by the principle of sovereign immunity,” Channel News Asia quoted Shanmugam as saying in the house on Wednesday.

According to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, diplomats are immune from criminal jurisdiction in their host country, although immunity can be waived by the diplomat’s state.

The meeting with Shanmugam was requested by Israel’s ambassador.

The minister said: “I pointed out to him that embassies are entitled to have their point of view.

“But where what has been said affects Singapore, in this case, the harmony and safety within Singapore, especially the security as well of our minority communities, we have to step in.”

Shanmugam also provided an update on reports of alleged offensive remarks or actions against the Jewish or Muslim communities in Singapore.

Between October 7 last year and March 31, 2024, the police received 43 such reports, the minister said.

A previous update stated that the police received eight such reports in October 2023.

Describing the conflict in the Middle East as “emotionally charged”, Shanmugam said deeply held feelings could result in words or actions that offended other communities. (PTI)

 

 

 

 

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