Singapore’s foreign affairs minister Vivian Balakrishnan expressed hope for a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine in a recent Facebook post, echoing Singapore’s longstanding support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict between the two regions.
Mr Balakrishnan said that he spoke with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi, in a Facebook post published last Thursday (20 Aug). Revealing that the Israeli Foreign Minister wished Singapore a happy 55th National Day, Mr Balakrishnan said that they reaffirmed the bilateral relationship between Singapore and Israel during the phone call.
The ruling party politician recounted on social media: “Had a good introductory phone call with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi today. I thanked Minister Ashkenazi for his good wishes on Singapore’s 55th National Day.
“We reaffirmed the longstanding bilateral relationship and also discussed recent developments in the Middle East and Asia. I expressed Singapore’s hope for regional peace and stability.”
Mr Balakrishnan added: “Singapore’s consistent position is to support a negotiated two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security. We hope that they can resume direct negotiations and make progress towards a just and durable solution.”
The bilateral relationship between Singapore and Israel goes way back to August 1965, when Singapore achieved independence. Singapore established full diplomatic relations with Israel and modelled its armed forces, including its national service programme, after the Israeli Defense Forces.
Despite protests from the Malaysian and Indonesian governments, Singapore has maintained a strong trade relationship with Israel over the years. While Singapore is Israel’s strongest ally in the region, it has long-advocated a two-state peace resolution between Israel and Palestine.
In 1988, Singapore welcomed the proclamation of a Palestinian state. More recently, in 2013, then-Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam emphasised Singapore’s support for the right of the Palestinian people to a homeland. Reiterating that both Israel and Palestine have legitimate rights and shared responsibilities, Mr Shanmugam said both parties must compromise with one another to achieve lasting peace.
In January 2018, Mr Balakrishnan said in Parliament: “Singapore’s position on this has been consistent. We do not take sides on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our objective has always been to support a peaceful resolution to this conflict. We have been a steadfast advocate of a negotiated two-state solution, with Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security.”