Marcos administration stands with Israel; BARMM says ‘Palestine is us’

Rommel Rebollido

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Marcos administration stands with Israel; BARMM says ‘Palestine is us’

PRAY. Thousands of Muslims pray during a rally in Cotabato City against Israeli attacks in Gaza on Monday, October 16, 2023. Ferdinandh Cabrera/Rappler

Ferdinandh Cabrera/Rappler

The BARMM parliament passes a resolution to condemn the 'acts of violence and collective punishment' against Palestinians in Gaza

GENERAL SANTOS, Philippines – “We are Palestine, and Palestine is us!” 

A Bangsamoro parliament member declared this as she delivered her sponsorship speech for a resolution calling for an end to Israeli attacks in Gaza and the safe return of Palestinians to their homeland.

The resolution, authored by Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) member Anna Tarhata Basman, was approved by the BARMM parliament on Tuesday, October 17, to call for a cessation of hostilities that endanger hundreds of thousands of lives and threaten any hope of resolving this decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine.

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TIMELINE: Conflict between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza

TIMELINE: Conflict between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza

The interim regional parliament resumed its session, and its members voted to pass the resolution “condemning acts of violence and collective punishment against Palestinians and calling for the immediate declaration of an unconditional cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.”

The BARMM position, however, is different from the stand of the Marcos Jr. administration.

On October 11, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told Israeli Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss in Malacañang that the Philippines stands with Israel in the conflict in Gaza.

A statement from the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) read, “The President assured Ambassador Fluss that the Philippines will always stand with Israel in this war against the inhuman terrorist attacks by Hamas.”

At least 30,000 Filipinos live in Israel, and 100 live in the Gaza Strip.

The Philippines is among the 33 countries that supported the establishment of Israel and the only Asian country that voted for the resolution creating it.

Israel and the Philippines established full diplomatic relations with the signing of the Treaty of Friendship on February 26, 1958. Embassies were opened in Tel-Aviv and Manila in 1962.

On Tuesday, Bangsamoro lawmakers called on Israel and Hamas to allow the United Nations (UN) to facilitate the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to provide and deliver relief assistance to Gazans.

The resolution cited that international humanitarian law, under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, considers collective punishment and intentional attacks against civilian populations, attacks against medical units and transports, and attacks against places of worship as war crimes.

The BARMM parliament also said the series of attacks and counter-attacks should not be viewed in isolation but understood in the broader context of the decades-long assertion of the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination.

“The crisis in our midst should not be viewed as religious or political, but primarily as a humanitarian issue, and it should be seen and urgently addressed as such,” the resolution stated.

The resolution came a day after thousands of residents in the special Muslim region staged a rally in Cotabato City, calling for a cessation of Israeli military offensives in Gaza. These offensives were in retaliation to the killings and abductions carried out in Israel by Hamas militants on October 7.

Waving huge Palestinian flags, more than 10,000 students, women, and children from that city and nearby provinces joined the “Bangsamoro Rally for Free Palestine,” according to rally organizers.

Basman, the resolution’s author, said, “As a people who knows all too well what it means for others to recognize and echo your call for the right to exist, we the Bangsamoro people, should raise our voices on behalf of those struggling for survival, the people of Gaza, the people of Palestine,” she said.

She said world leaders should prioritize the just resolution of the conflict, which first and foremost grants statehood to the Palestinians and establishes security in Palestine, Israel, and neighboring countries.

Basman also said leaders must refrain from introducing policies contrary to international humanitarian law and considered war crimes, such as targeting civilians, places of worship, and medical and humanitarian facilities and personnel. –

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