SE Asian governments stake out divergent positions on Hamas assault on Israel, underscoring the bloc’s rising polarization
“The Philippines conveys its deepest sympathies and condolences to those who have lost family members and loved ones in recent attacks,” the Philippine presidential palace said in a statement following the latest round of conflict in the Middle East.
“The Philippines condemns the attacks, especially against civilian populations,” the Southeast Asian nation added, referring to the unprecedented attacks by the militant Hamas organization across Israel which has claimed hundreds of lives including civilians.
In stark contrast to the position of the Philippines, neighboring Malaysia reaffirmed its solidarity with the Palestinian people in response to the Hamas assault on Israel.
Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim took to social media to lambast the allegedly lopsided global coverage of the latest round of violence, emphasizing the fate of dispossessed Palestinians long confined to occupied territories.
“The confiscation of land and property belonging to the Palestinian people is done relentlessly by the [Israel government],” Anwar said in a post on X referring to the mass displacement of Palestinians after decades of Arab-Israeli conflict. “As a result of this injustice, hundreds of innocent lives were sacrificed,” he added, thus pushing the blame to the side of Israel.
In a strongly-worded statement, the Malaysian foreign ministry portrayed Israel “as the occupier,” which subjected Palestinians to “prolonged illegal occupation, blockade and suffering.” Fellow Muslim-majority Indonesia also reiterated its support for the Palestinian struggle for independence.
Southeast Asia’s largest nation similarly argued that “[t]he root of the conflict, namely the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel, must be resolved, in accordance with the parameters agreed upon by the UN,” referring to various UN Security Council Resolutions endorsing a two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict.
As an emerging global power, however, Indonesia tried to project leadership by emphasizing the need for an “immediate end of violence to avoid further human casualties.” In recent years, the Southeast Asian nation, the world’s third largest democracy, has tried to present as a potential peacemaker in multiple conflict zones, including in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
The other two key Southeast Asian nations of Vietnam and Thailand, for their part, took an even more neutral stance on the escalating conflict, reflecting deep fault lines among core members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on yet another major conflict.
Source : Asia Times