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House told to condemn Israel’s aggression vs Palestinians, call for truce


Gaea Katreena Cabico – Philstar.com

October 29, 2023 | 4:31pm

MANILA, Philippines — The three-member Makabayan bloc has called on the House of Representatives to condemn Israel’s attacks and apartheid against Palestinians as bombardment in the impoverished Gaza Strip continues to intensify. 

In a still unnumbered House resolution, Reps. France Castro (ACT Teachers party-list), Arlene Brosas (Gabriela party-list), and Raoul Manuel (Kabataan party-list) also urged the lower chamber to call for a ceasefire.

“To demonstrate its commitment to international human rights law and international humanitarian law, it is imperative for the Philippine government to join the strong condemnation of those violations and aggressions of the Israeli government that have killed, injured, and caused unmeasurable suffering for the Palestinian people,” the Makabayan bloc said. 

Castro stressed that Israel’s indiscriminate attacks against civilians endanger Filipinos. The Philippines earlier ordered the mandatory evacuation of 131 Filipinos residing in Gaza Strip.

Several states, including Arab nations, as well as United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, condemned the targeting of individuals and the flagrant violations of international laws in the Palestinian enclave.

Israel’s heavy bombing campaign of Gaza Strip has killed over 8,000 people, mainly civilians, with more than 3,500 of them children. Over one million Palestians have been displaced, with neighborhoods reduced to rubble. Officials also warn that hospitals in the territory are on the brink of collapse.

The Bangsamoro Parliament earlier condemned the violence against Palestinian civilians and called for an end to hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas. 

On the other hand, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. assured Israeli Ambassador Ilan Fluss that “the Philippines will always stand with Israel against the inhuman terrorist attacks by Hamas,” according to the Presidential Communications Office. 

The Philippine military has modernization programs with Israel, which include armored vehicles, air defense surveillance and radar systems, and multi-purpose attack craft.

Move to abstain criticized

The Philippines was one of the countries that abstained from voting on a United Nations resolution calling for an “immediate humanitarian truce” in Gaza. The non-binding resolution received 120 votes in favor, 14 against and 45 abstentions from UN members. 

Ambassador Antonio Lagdameo, the permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations, said that while the government is alarmed at the state of civilian casualties in the war between Israel and Hamas, it is concerned that the text failed to mention the Palestinian militant group. 

The surprise attack by Hamas on October 7 killed more than 1,400 people in Israel, including four Filipinos. 

“The reason to abstain given by the Philippine delegation in the UN is wrong because this conflict did not just start on October 7. There is a long history of the struggle for Palestinian liberation and Israel’s aggression that has to be considered and told,” Castro said. 

Israel expelled hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their land around the time of its establishment as a state in 1948, in what amounted to ethnic cleansing, according to Amnesty International. 

Palestinians are confined to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, where they are subject to different legal and administrative regimes

In 2007, Israel imposed a land, air and naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to 2.2 million people, after Hamas took control of the enclave. — with report from Agence France-Presse

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