Updated: 08/05/2014 23:39

K Shanmugam: Israel's response's disproportionate

K Shanmugam: Israel's response's disproportionate

Foreign Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has spoken out against Israel, for its response in the ongoing conflict in Gaza. 

Responding to a member's question on Singapore's position, Mr Shanmugam said that Israel's response is "disproportionate", and hoped that it would be investigated by the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

"While we understand the legitimate right of israel for self-defence, the rising Palestinian death toll, over a thousand so far, the majority of them woman and children, is tragic and disturbing. Whether or not this response is justified, Israel can and should do more to ensure that civilian casualties are minimised."

Mr Shanmugam added that that the loss of human lives, especially that of young children, was "completely unacceptable". 

He said, however, that Hamas-controlled Gaza should also take maximum precautions to ensure that civilians are not put in harm's way. 

His comments included a criticism of rocket launches by Hamas, which invited damage, and harm, to its own people. 

"Hamas knows that its cause is helped when Gazans die. If there is one thing that helps Hamas most, that gives it any legitimacy, it is dead civilians and rockets in schools. The exploitation of dead children is completely unacceptable."

Mr Shanmugam added that Singapore supports the right of Palestinians to a homeland, under a two-state solution. 

And he called on Israel to commit to the two-state position, and comply with international law obligations. 

A 72-hour ceasefire started earlier today.

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