Singapore makes Israeli embassy delete 'insensitive' post using Quran to 'justify settlements in Gaza'

Singapore makes Israeli embassy delete 'insensitive' post using Quran to 'justify settlements in Gaza'
The Singapore government has condemned the Israeli embassy in Singapore for making a post on Facebook using the Quran to justify Jewish settlements.
3 min read
Singapore's Law and Home Affairs Minister called the post “completely unacceptable” and was “very upset” when he was told about it [GETTY]

Israel's embassy in Singapore  on Sunday deleted a social media post that used the Islamic holy book, the Quran, to justify Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, after orders from the Singaporean government.

The now-deleted post was on the embassy's official Facebook page, claiming that Israel is mentioned in the Quran 43 times while Palestine is not mentioned once.

It also cited "each and every archaeological evidence" that links Israel to the Jewish people and allegedly proves that they are the indigenous people of the land.

These comments were perceived as sanctioning illegal settlements by claiming the whole of historic Palestine, including the occupied West Bank and Gaza, as Israeli territory.

It was posted on the Israeli embassy's official Facebook page on Sunday and removed the same evening after uproar from the host country, The Straits Times reported.

Singapore's Law and Home Affairs Minister Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam called the post "completely unacceptable" and said he was "very upset" when he was informed about it.

Shanmugam also said he asked Singapore's foreign ministry to tell the Israeli embassy that the embassy must "immediately" take the post down.

"The post is wrong at many levels. First, it is insensitive and inappropriate, it undermines the safety and security and harmony in Singapore," Shanmugan said, saying this was why the government intervened, something they don't usually do.

"Posts like these can power inflamed tensions and can put the Jewish community here [in Singapore] at risk, the anger from the post can potentially spill over into the physical realm."

The minister also said it is wrong to "selectively" use religious texts to make a political point, especially during Israel's war on Gaza and an "astonishing" attempt to rewrite history.

He urged the writer of the post to look at the UN's resolutions to see if Israel's actions have been consistent with international law.  

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Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan also condemned the post, saying it was highly inappropriate.

A spokesperson for the Israeli embassy told The Straits Times that the post was put up without the "necessary approvals", and the person who published the post has been punished and will face further disciplinary action.

While Singapore had condemned the Hamas attacks on Israel, the country has also said that Israel's military response "has now gone too far" – where over 32,000 Palestinians have died and over 74,000 injured.

Israel continues to expand its settlements in the West Bank, which are illegal in international law.

The Israeli government has invested in building towns and expelled Palestinians with approximately 380,000 Israeli settlers living illegally in the West Bank, according to figures from Israeli human rights group B’tselem.

Since splitting from Malaysia in 1965, Singapore has fostered close diplomatic relations with Israel and developed extensive security cooperation.

Neighbouring Malaysia and Indonesia have no relations with Israel and have strongly condemned the war on Gaza.