S’pore ’prepared in principle’ to recognise Palestinian state, provided it rejects terrorism & accepts Israel
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S’pore ’prepared in principle’ to recognise Palestinian state, provided it rejects terrorism & accepts Israel

Singapore is “prepared in principle” to recognise Palestinian state at an “appropriate time”: Vivian

Speaking in Parliament on Tuesday (2 July), Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan said Singapore is “prepared in principle” to recognise the Palestinian state.

Source: CNA on YouTube

Dr Balakrishnan said this would happen at an “appropriate time”. However, he also mentioned two key considerations for this to happen:

There would need to be an effective Palestinian government that accepts Israel’s right to exist and categorically rejects terrorism.

These considerations should help Israel and Palestine progress towards peace and a negotiated two-state solution.

The foreign minister was responding to Parliamentary Questions about Singapore’s support for Palestine to become a United Nations (UN) member.

S’pore votes to support full UN membership for Palestine, among 143 countries to do so

Noting that people of “both sides” have the “right to live in peace and dignity within secure borders”, Dr Balakrishnan urged Israel and Palestine to “seize the moment” and work towards a “long-lasting peace”.

As a “friend to both”, Singapore will offer its encouragement and tangible support to Palestinians and Israelis, said Dr Balakrishnan.

In a supplementary question, Member of Parliament Gerald Giam asked if there is a “threshold” which needs to be crossed for Singapore to recognise the state of Palestine.

In response, Dr Balakrishnan said each country will have to consider whether there is an effective Palestinian leadership that:

  • Represents all Palestinians
  • Has effective control over the West Bank and Gaza Strip
  • Has the mandate to negotiate with the Israelis on behalf of the Palestinians.

Dr Balakrishnan said that even though that is a question countries in the world must ponder over, different countries will arrive at an answer at a different threshold.

As such, he stated that Singapore will not commit to a “specific time”. Singapore’s answer will also not be subject to whether other countries have decided on the same “fundamental question”.

Support Singapore provides to Palestinians is not dependent on ‘formal recognition’

Dr Balakrishnan added that Singapore will continue engaging its Palestinian counterparts and implementing the S$10 million Enhance Technical Assistance Package (ETAP).

The foreign minister said Singapore aims to help the Palestinians build capacity and prepare for eventual statehood through ETAP.

He shared that Singapore has trained 750 Palestinian officials to date in areas such as:

  • Diplomacy
  • Water management
  • Economic management
  • Urban planning

Additionally, Singapore has disbursed postgraduate scholarships to 13 Palestinian officials to study at the Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore.

Choa Chu Kang MP Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim also asked about the additional aid that Singapore might provide once Palestine attains statehood.

In response, Dr Balakrishnan said the level of support Singapore provides to Palestine is independent of any “formal recognition” the latter has.

Also read: Vivian Balakrishnan to visit Palestinian territories & Israel from 18 March

Vivian Balakrishnan to visit Palestinian territories & Israel from 18 March

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Featured image adapted from CNA on YouTube. 

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