Filipinos hold peace rally for Israelis
MANILA, Philippines – A group of Filipinos held a peace rally for Israelis on Friday, November 30, a holiday in the Philippines and incidentally a day after the United Nations (UN) voted to recognize Palestine as a non-member state.
During the peace rally attended by Christian groups, Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Menashe Bar-On said the Israeli government is “supporting any petition which can support the peace process.”
He said this almost two weeks after a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The ceasefire ended 8 days of bloodshed that killed up to 170 people and wounded 1,500 from both Israel and Palestine.
“We are not in a conflict to kill Palestinians. We are in a conflict to defend ourselves and we regret the loss of civilians' lives on both sides,” Bar-On said.
On Palestine's UN upgrade on Thursday, November 29, Bar-On reiterated Israel's stance that their country favors a Palestinian state. “But it should be through direct negotiations,” said the ambassador, reflecting the stance of his country and its allies like the United States.
The US, among 9 other countries, said the UN vote upgrading Palestine's status creates “obstacles” to peace between Palestinians and Israelis.
“Today's unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path to peace. That is why the United States voted against it,” said the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, before the UN General Assembly.
In an earlier interview on Rappler's #TalkThursday, Bar-On said Israel wants peace “as much as other countries in the world.” (Watch more in the video below.)
He also expressed hope that other Palestinians in Gaza will urge authorities to work toward progress, not destruction.
“The Palestinians can have their peace also,” Bar-On told Rappler executive editor and CEO Maria Ressa. “We left Gaza in 2005 to give the Palestinians the opportunity, the golden opportunity to rule themselves… But instead of investing money in progress, in education, they teach their children how to kill.”
“We hope this ceasefire will give wisdom to the Palestinians – give them the wisdom to ask those leading, controlling the nation to change their way,” he explained. – Rappler.com