The Singapore Police Force (SPF) and the National Parks Board (NParks) have officially announced the rejection of applications to organize events related to the Israel-Hamas conflict in Singapore.
In light of concerns about public safety and security due to the ongoing global tensions, the decision has been made to turn down such requests.
Amid heightened tensions surrounding the Israel-Hamas conflict, Singaporean authorities have taken measures to address public safety and security concerns related to events and public assemblies.
The police, in conjunction with the National Parks Board (NParks), have assessed that such gatherings could pose a risk to public order.
For those who intend to use Speakers’ Corner at Hong Lim Park for events, it is now mandatory to submit an application to NParks. This measure aims to regulate public gatherings in light of potential disturbances that may arise from discussing sensitive international issues.
The NParks website specifies that foreigners and non-Singapore entities must apply for a police permit to organize or assist in organizing an event at the Speakers’ Corner.
Additionally, non-Singapore citizens must also apply for a police permit to engage in public speaking at the Speakers’ Corner. These measures are in place to regulate events and public speaking in Singapore, particularly during times of heightened international tensions, such as the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, the authorities noted the occurrence of numerous incidents of violence reported in various countries.
Singaporean law, regulated under the Public Order Act 2009, does not permit public assemblies that advocate political causes of other countries or foreign entities or have the potential to incite emotions and disrupt public order.
The police have also reminded the public to engage in responsible and respectful discussions regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict, both online and offline, and to avoid making insensitive or offensive remarks about race or religion, which could threaten Singapore’s racial and religious harmony.
Singaporean law includes several provisions to address these issues, with penalties including imprisonment, fines, or both for various offenses.
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) has issued a reminder to the public regarding the regulation of public assemblies in Singapore under the Public Order Act 2009. Organizing or participating in a public assembly without a police permit in Singapore constitutes an offense under this act.
The SPF will not grant permits for assemblies that advocate political causes of other countries or foreign entities, or that have the potential to incite emotions and disrupt public order.
Additionally, the SPF has called upon the public to engage in responsible and respectful discussions on the topic of the Israel-Hamas conflict, both online and offline.
They emphasize the importance of avoiding insensitive or offensive remarks about race or religion, which may jeopardize Singapore’s racial and religious harmony.
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) expressed deep distress over the increasing civilian casualties and worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, attributing them to Israeli military operations in response to Hamas attacks. The MFA condemned Hamas for targeting civilians and taking hostages, calling for their immediate release. They affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense but emphasized the need to adhere to international law and protect civilians.
The MFA urged all parties to respect international humanitarian law and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Singapore pledged S$300,000 in support through the Singapore Red Cross. The statement reiterated Singapore’s commitment to a two-state solution, despite recent hostilities, as the best way to ensure peace, security, and dignity for both Israelis and Palestinians.
- Uttering words with the deliberate intention of wounding the racial feelings of a person is an offence under Section 298 of the Penal Code 1871, and is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years, or fine, or both.
- Knowingly promoting or attempting to promote, on grounds of race, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different racial groups is an offence under Section 298A(a) of the Penal Code 1871, and is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years, or fine, or both.
- Committing an act prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different racial groups and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquility is an offence under Section 298A(b) of the Penal Code 1871, and is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years, or fine, or both.
- Knowingly engaging in conduct on the ground of religion or religious belief or activity that urges violence against a target person or target group, or knowingly engaging in conduct urging violence against a target person or target group distinguished by religion or religious belief or activity, is an offence under Section 17E of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act 1990, and is punishable with imprisonment of up to ten years, or fine, or both.
- Knowingly engaging in conduct that incites feelings of enmity, hatred, ill-will or hostility against any target group distinguished by religion, religious belief or activity, knowing that such feelings against the target group are likely to occur, and where such feelings would threaten the public peace or public order in Singapore, is an offence under Section 17F(3) of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act 1990, and is punishable with imprisonment of up to five years, or fine, or both.
- Knowingly engaging in conduct that insults the religion or religious belief or activity, or wounds the religious feelings of, a target person distinguished by religion or religious belief or activity, knowing that such insult or wounding is likely to occur, and where the insult or wounding would threaten the public peace or public order in Singapore, is an offence under Section 17F(4) of the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act 1990, and is punishable with imprisonment of up to five years, or fine, or both.
Israel-Hamas Conflict Continues: Escalation and International Concerns
The Israel-Hamas conflict that erupted on October 7, 2023, continues to intensify, raising concerns on both a regional and global scale. This protracted crisis, characterized by a daring cross-border assault by Hamas militants, has triggered a massive military response from Israel. Here are the latest developments and the pressing issues surrounding this ongoing conflict:
The latest phase of this long-standing conflict began on Saturday, October 7th, when Hamas militants executed a bold cross-border incursion into Israel. Employing a highly organized and stealthy approach, they breached multiple points of the border fence, catching Israeli security forces off-guard and sending civilian areas into disarray. The attackers, met with minimal resistance, turned their operation into a chaotic and blood-soaked rampage through residential zones.
A wide swath of territory spanning over 20 miles fell victim to this broad incursion across Gaza’s southern border with Israel, resulting in a significant loss of life, including civilians, women, and children. Tragically, a dance festival held just three miles from the border fence witnessed the recovery of over 260 bodies. The incursion’s impact in Israel has seen over 1,400 casualties and 4,121 injuries, as reported by authorities.
Hamas’ Stated Objectives
Hamas, the militant organization that has governed the densely populated Gaza Strip since 2006, has declared that the primary aims of this attack are to secure the release of Palestinian prisoners, halt Israeli aggression at the al-Aqsa Mosque, and break the longstanding siege on Gaza. These objectives highlight the deeply rooted tensions and historical conflicts in the region.
Israel’s Military Goals
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, leading a unity government with a political rival, has firmly expressed his determination to end Hamas’ rule in the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli military has identified the militant group’s leadership as a key target. Israel’s National Security Council chief, Tzachi Hanegbi, has asserted that Israel can no longer accept Hamas as a “sovereign entity” in Gaza. He has vowed to achieve “complete victory” in this conflict, aiming to collapse both Hamas’ military and governmental capabilities and prevent their revival.
Leadership Behind Hamas’ Attacks
The specific leaders behind Hamas’ attacks on Israel are not detailed in the available information.
Ongoing Imbalance and Historical Tensions
This latest bout of hostilities underscores the enduring power imbalance in the region and the lack of progress towards a peaceful resolution and Palestinian statehood. The conflict’s roots precede the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the founding of Hamas in 1987. The disputed territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea has been a longstanding source of periodic violence, armed conflict, and displacement.
International Response and Humanitarian Crisis
As the situation in Gaza escalates, the international community is closely monitoring the conflict. Concerns are mounting for the civilian population in Gaza, where over one million residents in northern Gaza have been urged by Israel to flee southward in anticipation of an impending ground offensive. The United Nations has criticized this call as potentially “calamitous” due to ongoing heavy airstrikes.
Comments on the Situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip By SIngapore
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) expressed deep distress over the increasing civilian casualties and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. These dire circumstances resulted from Israeli military operations in response to the attacks by Hamas on Israel in early October. The MFA strongly condemned Hamas for deliberately targeting civilians, committing acts of terror, and taking hostages. They called for the immediate and safe release of all civilians held by Hamas.
The statement emphasized Israel’s legitimate right to defend its citizens and territory but stressed the importance of Israel adhering to international law, including the laws of war, and protecting the safety of civilians.
Furthermore, the MFA called on all parties involved to abide by international humanitarian law and facilitate the urgent delivery of humanitarian aid to the civilian population in Gaza. In response to the humanitarian situation, the Singapore Government pledged to contribute S$300,000 to support relief efforts through the Singapore Red Cross.
The statement reiterated Singapore’s long-standing position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, advocating for a negotiated two-state solution consistent with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions as the only viable path to a just and lasting resolution. Despite the recent hostilities and the challenging nature of the task, Singapore urged both sides to take steps towards this ultimate goal to ensure that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace, security, and dignity.
Aid agencies have reported a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with the Israeli blockade and bombardments exacerbating the situation. With closed borders, Palestinians are facing critical shortages of resources, including electricity and water. The collapse of critical infrastructure has left them with intermittent phone and internet connections.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which aids Palestinian refugees, has been hampered by the blockade and is unable to provide essential assistance to Gazans. Without critical supplies such as water, food, and fuel, UNRWA’s operations are severely affected.
As Israeli forces prepare for a major offensive, the situation in Gaza remains precarious, with mounting concerns for civilian populations. Questions loom about what would replace Hamas if it were to be completely ousted. There is also a risk that the conflict could draw in neighboring countries or even global powers, making a resolution even more challenging.
The Israel-Hamas conflict, a deep-seated issue with far-reaching implications, is once again in the spotlight. The international community is closely watching, hopeful for a path towards peace and stability in the region, but the need for humanitarian assistance and diplomatic efforts to prevent further escalation remains paramount in these trying times.
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