The Israel as a country and Israel would return

            The
Israeli-Palestine conflict is one that goes back many decades, and is still not
resolved today. The conflict has mainly surrounded the issue of who holds claim
over Jerusalem, a city which holds importance for both the Jews and the
Muslims. In 1967, Israel launched a surprise attack and took control of the
entire Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza Strip, and parts of Egypt and Syria, causing
terrorist organisations to arise from Palestine. In 1978, due to the Camp David
Accords, the then Egyptian President and the Israeli Prime Minister came to an
agreement whereby Egypt would recognise Israel as a country and Israel would
return Egypt’s land. However, the Egyptian President was assassinated by Muslim
extremists in 1981. Peace efforts between Israel and Palestine continued during
the 1990s, however the Israeli Prime Minister was also assassinated by Jewish
extremists. Fighting between the Israelis and the Palestinians during the First
and Second Intifada also put a dent in peace discussions. Currently, a
two-state solution is in place, however both parties still see Jerusalem as
their capital. In this essay, this long-standing conflict’s impact on Singapore
will be discussed.

            Singapore’s
stand on this issue is that a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine
is the only way for peace to be achieved. Singapore has good ties with both
Israel and Palestine. When Singapore achieved independence, Israel helped to
build our armed forces, when some other countries declined to help. This
started over fifty years of good relations between Singapore and Israel. However,
Singapore also maintains good ties with Palestine, developing the Enhanced
Technical Assistance Package to support Palestinian capacity building. I agree
with Singapore’s stand on the two-state solution because if one side has sole
control over the city of Jerusalem, the people from the other side will not be
able to agree on peace. Since Jerusalem holds importance not just to the Jews
but also to the Muslims, both sides do lay claim to the land. Singapore tries
to maintain good ties with all countries, thus a move towards peace would be
more favourable towards us. This conflict is also in some way similar to
Singapore’s situation, in that we, like Israel, are a small and advanced
country surrounded by bigger countries with a Muslim majority. Thus, there is
much that we can learn from this conflict. Currently, we are at peace with our
neighbours. But the Israeli-Palestine conflict gives us a glimpse of what would
happen if this peace were to be broken.

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However, with the recent declaration of
US President Donald Trump that US will recognise Jerusalem as the capital of
Israel and move its embassy there, peace in the Middle East has been disrupted.
This has also sparked anger in many Muslim countries, with the Malaysian
Foreign Ministry saying that this could result in “grave repercussions” towards
the “security and stability of the region”. Since Singapore is a
multi-religious country, we must be weary of these events that can destabilise
the peace within our country and also with our neighbours. Thus, Singapore
should maintain our stance on the two-state solution as though both sides know
that this may be the only solution to the long conflict, no significant
progress has been made over the years.

Another significant issue surrounding
the Israel-Palestine conflict is the usage of water as a weapon. According to
the 1995 Oslo II Agreement, Israel was granted 71% access to the Mountain
Aquifer water, while the Palestinians were only granted 17%. Today however, the
Palestinians have access to only 13% of the water, with Israel taking the remaining
87%. Due to this, many Palestinians have irregular or no supply of water. This
situation is similar to Singapore’s reliance on Malaysia for water ever since
our independence. The Israel-Palestine conflict shows Singapore the importance
of having our own water supplies and be self-dependent for water. Over the
years, Singapore has developed NEWater and new desalination strategies,
contributing to 65% of our water demand, excluding the water from local
catchments. Over the next few decades before our agreement with Malaysia
expires in 1961, Singapore should take into account the increasing water demand
and expand our water infrastructure to maintain an adequate and affordable
source of water for Singaporeans.

In conclusion, the Israel-Palestine
conflict has many lessons for Singapore in terms of maintaining peace with our
neighbours and managing our water resources. Singapore should also continue our
support of the two-state solution as the way to achieve peace between the two countries
and in the Middle East.