Updated on 11 October, 2023, at 9:38 am
The recent attack in Gaza that killed more than 500 people and injured thousands has sparked outrage around the world, with many countries calling for an immediate end to the violence. As the international community continues to monitor the situation, Southeast Asian countries have joined in condemning the attack and calling for the resumption of peace.
On 9 October, Israel responded to a surprise attack by Hamas – the “Islamic Resistance Movement” – by threatening to track down and punish the Palestinian fighters. The attack involved the firing of thousands of rockets from the Gaza Strip in the middle of the night, catching Israel off guard. Hamas carried out the attack on 22 locations in southern Israel as part of an operation named Al-Aqsa Storm led by Hamas military commander Muhammad Deif.
Israel has quickly responded with air strikes on residential buildings in Gaza and a “total blockade” of the Gaza Strip in violation of international law.
The Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) joined the ministries in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines in expressing their solidarity with the Palestinians. They shared deep concern about the escalation of violence in Gaza and urged all parties to exercise restraint and work towards a peaceful resolution.
Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim-majority country, has strongly condemned the attack and called for an immediate end to the violence. “Indonesia is deeply concerned with the escalation of conflict between Palestine and Israel. Indonesia urges the immediate end of violence to avoid further human casualties,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted in a statement on X.
On 10 October the Lao MOFA stated, “the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has been closely following with grave concern over the current violent hostilities between Israel and Palestine which have resulted in the loss of many lives and properties. Lao PDR urges all parties concerned to exercise utmost restraint, cease all acts of violence, and jointly resolve the conflict by peaceful means. Lao PDR calls on all parties concerned to resume a negotiation process and restore mutual trust for solving the long-overdue Palestinian issue through the establishment of two sovereign states coexisting peacefully in line with the relevant UN resolutions and international law.”
In the past, Laos has also shown steady support for the Palestinian community.
In a brief statement on the MOFA webpage published in 2017, the Lao government expressed “its concerns over the unilateral declaration of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel by the President of the United State of America. The Lao PDR reaffirms its long-standing solidarity and unwavering support to the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for dignity, justice and their inalienable right to self-determination in their independent State of Palestine […].”
Governments Nepal, Japan, South Korea, Pakistan, China, India, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia have also issued statements regarding the conflict, highlighting the region’s attention to the crisis.
In response to the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas, Asian airlines, including Hainan, Cathay Pacific, and Korean Air, are canceling flights to Tel Aviv, Israel. Hainan Airlines has suspended its regular direct flights from Shanghai, while Cathay Pacific has canceled its Hong Kong-Tel Aviv route and Korean Air has canceled its flight from Incheon to Israel.
The swift and decisive actions of Asian airlines reflect a broad industry trend towards prioritizing passenger and crew safety in unstable geopolitical situations. The conflict is not only affecting travel schedules but also leads to operational challenges for airlines, disrupting the international travel ecosystem.
As the situation continues to unfold, the international community remains hopeful for a swift and peaceful resolution that ensures the safety and well-being of all those affected by the crisis.