Group Demands Stronger Stance Against Israel’s Actions, Marches To Istana With Letters For PM

Volunteers Walk To Istana To Deliver Letters To Prime Minister’s Office In Support Of Palestine

After Hamas attacked Israel in October last year, the latter retaliated by launching attacks against the Gaza Strip. Since then, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been killed, injured or displaced.

As a result, there have been calls across the world to support those who have suffered as a result of the ongoing violence.

Singapore is no exception.

On Friday (2 Feb), a crowd of volunteers went to the Istana to deliver letters to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

Source: @elijahtaypeng on Instagram

In the letter, they requested that the Government cut ties with Israel and take concrete action to end the occupation.

Local group organises event to advocate for action against Israel

On Monday (29 Jan), Singaporeans for Palestine posted about the “Letters for Palestine” initiative on social media.

letters istana palestine

Source: @sgpforpalestine48 on Instagram

In its post, it stated that it was organising an event for people to write and deliver letters to Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong at the Istana on 2 Feb.

The letter includes actions they want to see the Government take concerning the ongoing situation in Gaza, such as stopping the purchase of Israeli arms, ceasing Singaporean partnerships with Israeli institutions, cutting all diplomatic relations with Israel, and more.

“Singapore’s leaders are simply not doing enough to stop the genocide in Gaza,” the group wrote in its Instagram caption.

“They continue to strengthen ties with Israel while Gaza burns — [Israel’s] actions cannot go unchallenged.”

Crowd delivers 130 letters to Istana calling for action in support of Palestine

On 2 Feb, the event began at around 2pm with participants meeting at Plaza Singapura before heading to the Istana to deliver the letters in support of Palestine.

25-year-old Ms Sobi, who was one of the organisers of the initiative, told MS News that more than 60 people had gathered for the event.

They all held umbrellas designed to look like watermelons, the globally recognised symbol representing solidarity with Palestine.

letters istana palestine

Together, they walked from the mall to the Istana rear gate, which is where the letterbox is located.

Two volunteers then went inside to deliver the letters as the rest waited outside.

Source: @sgpforpalestine48 on Instagram

According to Ms Sobi, the staff at the Istana gate were “quite accommodating” and even prepared a bag to collect the letters.

In total, they submitted around 130 letters. Some came from those present, and others were sent via email.

“The overall hope is that the PM will see that this is an issue that isn’t solely cared about by one particular race or religion,” Ms Sobi explained.

letters istana palestine

Ms Sobi and Ms Camira, two of the organisers of the initiative

In fact, she reported that there was a lot of diversity among the group that showed up, both in terms of age — there were children there — as well as race and religion.

“So we hope that [the PM] will take this action, along with all the other action that is taking place today, that Singaporeans want him to act on our voices and have that influence on how they’re implementing their foreign policy with regards to Israel and Palestine.”

Hopes to encourage more Singaporeans to speak up

Of course, Ms Sobi acknowledged that that might be “a long shot”.

Thus, the second thing they’re hoping to achieve is that people feel less fearful about organising similar events around this issue.

“We’re hoping that this builds up people’s confidence by seeing that there are many like-minded individuals who want to organise such events,” said Ms Sobi. “Perhaps they will realise that even they can organise an event as well.”

Volunteers walking back to Plaza Singapura after delivering letters at the Istana

When asked how she felt about the outcome, Ms Sobi replied that she was “very proud”.

“I feel like this dispels the stereotype that Singaporeans don’t want to be civically engaged or participative,” she said.

A lot of people came up to us saying it’s a dream come true to be able to come together as one in support of this issue and not feel isolated or helpless.

While the afternoon’s event went smoothly, Ms Sobi said that another upcoming gathering that was supposed to take place at The Projector tonight had to be called off.

“The police reached out to us at the last minute saying that we needed a permit for the event because in its eyes, it’s technically a breach of the Public Order Act,” she shared.

While the police feel that the event is a breach due to its alleged racial and religious nature, she said the event is simply a show of solidarity among likeminded individuals.

Still, she and the others are hopeful that this movement will allow them to meet more people and see what more can be done to support the cause.

Also read: Activist Gilbert Goh Holds Sign About Israel-Hamas Conflict At Speakers’ Corner After Assembly Ban

Activist Gilbert Goh Holds Sign About Israel-Hamas Conflict At Speakers’ Corner After Assembly Ban

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Featured image by MS News and adapted from @elijahtaypeng on Instagram.

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