S'pore strongly condemns 'abhorrent attack' near Jerusalem synagogue: MFA

MFA also mourned the lost of innocent Palestinian lives following a raid on a refugee camp by Israeli forces.

Gawain Pek | January 29, 2023, 08:34 PM

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Singapore strongly condemns the "abhorrent attack" outside a Jerusalem synagogue on Jan. 27, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement on Jan. 29.

It also mourned the lost of innocent lives and injuries to Palestinian civilians, following a Jan. 26 raid by Israeli forces on a Palestinian refugee camp in the city of Jenin.

"Deeply concerned" about escalation: MFA

In addition to the condemnation, MFA also expressed "condolences to the families of the victims" and wished those injured a speedy recovery.

At the same time, MFA wrote that it "mourn the loss of innocent lives and injuries" to Palestinian civilians in Jenin on Jan. 26.

It said that Singapore is "deeply concerned" about the escalation of violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

"We urge all parties to exercise maximum restraint and de-escalate tensions to prevent further loss of civilian lives. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security," MFA said.

There are currently no reports of Singaporeans affected by the attacks in Jerusalem, MFA shared.

Tensions flaring since Jan. 26

The statement by MFA was made in response to the latest flare-up of tensions between Israel and Palestine.

On Jan. 26, Israeli forces raided a Palestinian refugee camp in Jenin to foil "imminent terrorist threats", BBC reported.

Israeli forces said in a statement that it killed three "terrorists", CNN reported.

The raid left nine dead, including an elderly woman, and twenty wounded.

Another Palestinian was killed in a separate incident later that day, bringing the death toll for the day up to 10, BBC wrote.

Following the Jan. 26 raid, rocket fire was traded between militant group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), in the West Bank and Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

Synagogue attack

The escalation of violence culminated in the synagogue attack on the evening of Holocaust Memorial day (Jan. 27).

On Jan. 27 at around 8:15pm, a lone gunman opened fire at civilians near a synagogue in Neve Yaakov, an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem, the New York Times (NYT) reported.

The attack left seven dead and three wounded, according to local police, NYT wrote.

The inspector-general of the Israeli police, Yaakov Shabtai, described the attack as one of the worst "terror attacks" in recent years.

A day later, in a separate incident on Saturday (Jan. 28), a 13-year-old boy shot at and wounded a father-and-son pair, CNN reported.

Diplomatic fall out

Since then, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to provide a "strong, swift and precise" response to the deadly synagogue attack, Reuters reported.

"While we are not seeking escalation, we are prepared for any scenario", he said.

An additional battalion of IDF troops have since been deployed into the occupied West Bank territory, an IDF spokesperson said, according to Reuters.

An Hamas spokesperson has characterised the Jenin raid as a "war crime", while a PIJ spokesperson said that the Palestinian people has been subjected to "unprecedented killings and attacks" by the new Israeli government, Al Jazeera reported.

The Palestinian National Authority, the official governing body of Palestine, has also announced the suspension of security co-operation with Israeli forces following the Jan. 26 Jenin raid.

U.S. Secretary of State to visit

The latest flare-up of tension and violence between the two states forms the backdrop of a visit to Israel and Palestine by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken from Jan. 30 to 31.

"With both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the Secretary will underscore the urgent need for the parties to take steps to deescalate tensions in order to put an end to the cycle of violence that has claimed too many innocent lives", the U.S. State Department noted in a statement on Blinken's visit.

What to do if you are in the region

Singaporeans in Israel are advised by the MFA to exercise caution, monitor the local news, and heed the instructions of local authorities.

"Singaporeans travelling to Israel are strongly encouraged to e-register with MFA if they have not done so", MFA recommended.

Singaporeans who require consular assistance can find help at the following:

Singapore Embassy in Tel Aviv

Address: 28 HaArba’a Street, South Tower, 19th Floor, Tel Aviv 6473926, Israel

Telephone: +972 3 7289334

Fax: +972 3 7289340

Email: [email protected]

MFA Duty Office

Telephone: +65 6379 8800 / 8855 (24-hour hotline)

Email: [email protected]

Top image via BBC/YouTube