Earlier this week on Monday, Osman Sulaiman had to reduce his protest against the visit of the Prime Minister of Israel to Singapore to just a post on his Facebook on 20 February, after being prevented from making a protest event. When he turned up at the Embassy of Israel in Singapore, the staff declined to receive his letter.
Osman wrote, “As the international community condemns and protests against Israel on its controversial law legalizing the building of settlements on West Bank, in Singapore, we are reduced to just handing a letter to its embassy.”
He had tried to apply permit for a protest of Netanyahu’s visit to Singapore. Although he received a confirmation from NParks to proceed with the event, a day later, a police officer called him up to tell that the event requires a police permit which would take two weeks to process.
“This effectively disqualifies our event from taking place as we had applied to hold the event less than 14 days,” Osman said.
Not wanting to be daunted by the setback, he decided to write a letter and send it to Israel’s embassy.
Osman and a few friends went to the embassy on 20 Feb and were greeted by a few police officers. “They were professional and understanding. They politely asked for our identifications and we obliged. One of the officers started videoing us while the screening was done. We also had a small talk with the officers, reiterating the purpose of our visit,” he explained.
After some time, a man was seen walking out of the embassy’s compound speaking to the guard and the officers. Osman were then told that its representative is not able to accept their letter. They were told to send an email instead.
When asked if there was anywhere a letter could be posted to their letterbox the man from the embassy said there is none. “I then insisted that there must be an avenue for mails to come through but again we were denied,” Osman told in his post.
In the end, they just decided to leave the letter at the guard house and left the place.
Osman said, “It is imperative that Israel should know the world is not with them when they violate international law. The burden is upon us to voice out against atrocities. If we make light of humanitarian issues, cruelty will prosper and we will then fail ourselves as human beings.”
Below is the letter that they sent to Israel’s embassy, verbatim.
20 Feb 2017
Embassy of Israel
22 Steven Close
Prime Minister of Israel
Mr Benjamin Netanyahu
Dear Mr Netanyahu,
RE: ILLEGAL SETTLEMENT ON PALESTINIAN LAND
We read with disgust that Israel’s Parliament passed a provocative law that would legalize Jewish settlements on privately owned Palestinian land. This new law is making stealing an official policy of Israel.
Despite UN’s resolution demanding on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” Israel has shamefully passed laws that undermine a two-state policy.
The latest act by your parliament shows the hypocrisy of Israel that it is committed to a two-state solution. It is incongruous when a leader of your stature, endorsed such atrocious law to seize private Palestinian land but play the victim on the international stage.
We would like to strongly register our condemnation of your administration for jeopardising the fundamentals of the peace process by disregarding the international community’s disapproval of Israel’s illegal settlement.
Peace cannot prevail when Israel continues to act with aggression.
Concerned Citizens of Singapore