Israel-Gaza war: Philippines’ ‘embarrassing’ abstention from UN resolution sparks protest near Israeli embassy

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The resolution passed with an overwhelming 120 votes in favour of a “continuous, sufficient and unhindered” entry of supplies into Gaza along with the “immediate and unconditional release” of all captive civilians. Fourteen countries, including Israel and the US, voted against the resolution.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) justified the government’s position, saying it wants the resolution to explicitly mention the October 7 attack by Hamas that had caused casualties including three Filipino workers who were killed in southern Israel. In a statement, the DFA said it sought “more balance in the draft, with a condemnation of the October 7 terrorist attacks by Hamas”.


Humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza as food supplies run out after total Israeli blockade

Humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza as food supplies run out after total Israeli blockade

Hundreds of demonstrators on Tuesday marched to the embassy before police blocked them with shields and truncheons. Officers began shoving protesters in an attempt to disperse them, before the crowd eventually settled a few metres away from the embassy gates.

“They’ve no respect for us,” Fatima Picardel, 54, cried as police jostled the protesters to leave.

She had travelled hours with her eight-year-old son from Moro, a Muslim-majority region in Rizal province, to join the gathering.

“Islam teaches us, we are all of the same body. When your hand hurts, aren’t you supposed to heal it? That’s how it works with people as well,” she said. “We feel their pain, and we must do something about it.”

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Activists ripped mock flags of Israel in front of the embassy and demanded an end to hostilities against Palestinians and allow them a safe return to their homes in Gaza.

Earlier this month, Marcos Jnr met the Israeli ambassador to the Philippines, Ilan Fluss, and assured him that his government stands with Israel against Hamas.

The protesters claimed that the Philippine government’s position was a sign of obedience to American interests.

“The Philippine stand is influenced by the US and Israel, which both voted No to the resolution,” Reyes said.

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Marcos Jnr has significantly strengthened defence ties with the US this year, including announcing in May the setting up of four new joint military sites with the Americans and visiting Washington to discuss security matters.

Israel, a staunch American ally, has pledged its support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). It delivered artillery throughout the AFP’s modernisation programme from 2013 to 2022. In September, Fluss announced that a senior Israeli defence official hoped to visit Manila and Israel planned to continue supplying weapons to the Philippines until 2028.

Foreign policy expert Professor Bobby Tuazon at the Centre for People’s Empowerment in Governance told This Week in Asia: “The US regards Israel as a junior ally, which is pivotal to its hegemony in the Middle East. The Marcos government, as a close US ally, is expected to back Israel in its war against the Palestinians.”

Israel’s continued refusal of the two-state solution and other peaceful alternatives to the conflict was the “greater act of terrorism” compared with Hamas’ attacks, Tuazon added.

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