Israel envoy worries Filipino protesters lack awareness on Israel-Hamas war
MANILA, Philippines — Israel Ambassador to the Philippines Ilan Fluss hopes Filipinos supporting Palestine will understand that the war with Hamas was not initiated by Israel.
He also has the same sentiment toward Filipinos who are protesting the military action in Gaza.
During a sit down interview with reporters and editors from Philippine Daily Inquirer on Tuesday, Fluss emphasized Israel is not fighting Palestinians.
He clarified they are waging war with Hamas militants who attacked their country on the first week of October.
Fluss said this after being asked about activist groups who renounced Israel’s military response to Hamas’ full-scale attack early October, that claimed over 1,400 Israeli lives.
“It’s important for the people to understand that Israel — and I think what I was saying here was very clear, we are not fighting the Palestinian people,” Fluss made the distinction.
“The war is against Hamas,” he stressed.
“Hamas has murdered, butchered, 1,400 Israelis; has butchered and murdered at least four Filipinos and many other foreign nationals,” he explained.
“We have to understand what caused this war. It’s a terror attack by Hamas against Israel on October 7, and the taking of these hostages, and that they have to come home,” he said.
According to the diplomat, he has no problem with Filipino activists supporting Palestine.
“I believe it’s the interest of the international community to support the war against Hamas and to improve the life, at the end of the day, of the Palestinians,” he said.
“Until now, Hamas is not the Palestinian authority — so I think it’s important for people to learn to understand what is happening now, what is this war all about,” he added.
Fluss also expressed concern some of the protesters might not be aware of the true stories about the conflict.
“I would take it seriously if those demonstrators would also demonstrate for the release of the hostages and for the end of terrorism,” he suggested.
“Then, I would say, ‘Okay. It’s something that we can talk about,'” he said.
“This is not coming,” he lamented.
“And this is what’s worrying for me – that they are not looking on the real cause of what happened there, and that’s also the Philippine government is saying the same thing,” he noted.
Fluss did not mention which groups have protested against Israel’s actions. But some organizations and individuals had spoken against the conflict, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Protesters had accused Israel of being the alleged terrorists, burning its flag and that of the United States during the demonstration.
Fluss previously said he was disturbed by these activities.
“I call upon them to demonstrate […] in support of the Palestinians,” he said.
“But let them really demonstrate against the real source of this war, which is Hamas, which is a threat to Israel, the Philippines, and the international community,” the ambassador specified.
“So, I think they should understand what they are demonstrating for. Of course, we have some radicals which you know, support terrorism,” he pointed out.
“I don’t… you know, I cannot engage in something supporting terrorism,” the envoy drew the line.