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Israel Is Not Pleased with the Philippines

Israel has some strong words for the Philippine government. 
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Ever since the birth of the state of Israel after World War II, Israel and the Philippines have kept very close diplomatic ties—unusually close for a country in Asia Pacific and another in the Middle East.

The Philippines was one of the countries that vigorously supported Israel’s bid to become a member of the United Nations in 1949. In fact, the Philippines was the only Asian country that voted for Israel. 

Earlier in 1947, it was the Philippines that cast the tie-breaking vote at the UN to separate Israel from Palestine. In World War II, the Philippines was the only country in the world that opened its doors to Jewish refugees fleeing Hitler’s genocide. 

Over 1,000 Jews found refuge in the Philippines, and after the war, settled in Israel. It was for that reason that Filipinos enjoy visa-free access to Israel today. Israel also honored the Philippines by erecting the “Open Doors” monument at the Holocaust Memorial in 2009 because of that single act of kindness—of opening the country to the Jews when every other nation rejected them. 

But as of late, Israel has not been pleased with the Philippines. 

On May 30, Israel summoned the Philippine envoy in Tel-Aviv to clarify the country’s vote at the UN favoring a probe on missile strikes on Gaza. In a statement, Israel expressed disappointment over the vote. 

“It is unacceptable that a country like the Philippines, which itself endures radical and murderous Islamist terrorism in the south of the country, would support a draft resolution that ignores the Hamas terrorist organization’s war crimes. Israel expects friends such as the Philippines not to support proposals that strengthen terrorism, and to stand by us during this time,” said Gilad Cohen, Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs' deputy director general for the Asia-Pacific.

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The Philippine vote, according to Israel, “constitutes a reward for terrorism.”

Israel has branded the UN Human Rights Council as a “biased and anti-Israel institution.” 

“The decision that was made is grossly one-sided, does not mention the Hamas terrorist organization at all, and ignores the 4,300 rockets that were fired at Israeli civilians,” the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. 

Tensions between Israel and Hamas, the ruling government in Gaza, have risen since early May. Violence erupted in Jerusalem over the pending eviction of some Arab families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Protests have been rampant across the city as the Israeli high court is about to render a verdict on the decades-long property dispute. The protests spread to other Arab areas inside Israel, and escalated into intense bombardments from both sides. 

According to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, at least 270 Palestinians and 10 Israelis died in the exchange of missiles between the two nations.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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