PH expresses 'serious deep concern' over latest Israeli-Palestinian hostilities

Published May 12, 2021, 6:11 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The Philippines on Wednesday joined the international community in expressing “serious deep concern” over the escalation of violence in parts of Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Photo shows Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, controlled by the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, on May 10, 2021. Israel launched deadly air strikes on Gaza in response to a barrage of rockets fired by the Islamist movement Hamas amid spiralling violence sparked by unrest at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

In a statement, the Philippine government called on all concerned parties to “exercise restraint and seek dialogue to de-escalate tensions” following weeks of tension between Palestinians and Israelis in East Jerusalem.

It was reported on Wednesday that a total of 35 Palestinians and five Israelis have been killed since the violence erupted on May 6, 2021 over the planned evictions of Palestinians in a neighborhood of East Jerusalem.

“The Philippines expresses serious concern over the recent escalation of violence in parts of Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip in recent days. The Philippines urges all parties to exercise restraint and seek dialogue to de-escalate tensions and avoid further actions that could affect future Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Earlier, the United States, the European Union and other countries called for lowering of tensions while Arab nations like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman called on Israel to respect international law and the right of peaceful worship.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres expressed his “deep concern” over the situation, including the escalation of violence in Gaza, “which add to the heightened tensions and violence in occupied East Jerusalem”.

The spokesman for the UN official said Guterres is deeply saddened to learn of increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza.

Also on Wednesday, the Philippine Embassy in Israel said contingency plans are in place should the situation further escalate, including shelters for thousands of Filipino workers in that country.

Nearly 30,000 Filipino workers are currently in Israel, according to the June 2020 data provided by the DFA.

The Philippine Embassy said it is in touch with Filipino organizations and other related networks in Israel as part of its contingency measures.