Public Display of Symbols Related to Israel-Hamas Conflict Banned: Singapore Implements Strict Measures Amid Rising Tensions
Unless you want to get yourself booted to jail, do not wear symbols related to the Israel-Hamas war.
On 6 November, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued a warning reminding people that the public display of foreign national emblems without a permit is an offence.
This law applies to publicly wearing any foreign emblem—including flags and banners—of any state or political organisation.
Under the Foreign National Emblems (Control of Display) Act 1949, violators of this law can receive a jail term of up to 6 months and a fine of up to $500.
The reason for this warning? People are selling merch with symbols related to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Apparel supporting Israel-Hamas war were being illegally sold on social media and e-commerce websites
The MHA reported that they were aware that apparel and paraphernalia with emblems related to the Israel-Hamas conflict are being sold online and worn or displayed by members of the public.
According to checks by The Straits Times, merchandise supporting both sides of the war was found being sold on several different social media and e-commerce websites. T-shirts, stickers and headbands were among the items being sold, with a T-shirt being reportedly sold for $20.
In a statement, they advised the public against the display and wearing of articles related to the conflict, given the heightened sensitivities in the wake of the war.
Additionally, they added that supporting terrorism through the display of apparel carrying logos of terrorist or militant groups, such as HAMAS or its military wing Al-Qassam Brigades, will not be condoned.
The authorities will take firm action against those who refuse to comply – for example, offenders who believe they can breeze into Singapore will be instantaneously hauled out and denied entry.
S’poreans should not take peace for granted, MHA advises
The MHA also reminded citizens that the peace between different races and religions in Singapore shouldn’t be taken for granted—and that as a whole, Singaporeans must not let events happening externally jeopardise this harmony. Allowing Singaporeans to publicly display their stand on the war could give rise to disputes, which could divide the country.
In other countries, disagreements among citizens concerning the conflict have resulted in fights – and worse, attacks. Last month in China, an Israeli worker at the embassy of Israel was stabbed in broad daylight in Beijing.
How to support victims in Gaza
For those who wish to support victims of the ongoing conflict, fund-raising activities and donation drives in support of humanitarian relief efforts are encouraged. Over a million people living in the Gaza Strip have been displaced in the war—nearly half the entire population of the country.
However, make sure you’re donating to an authorised charity – or else, you might be very well emptying your savings to a crook in disguise.
Authorised charities are those that have been granted a Fund-Raising for Foreign Charitable Purposes permit by the Commissioner of Charities, such as the Singapore Red Cross Society and the RLAF, or the Rahmatan Lil Alamin (Blessings to All) Foundation.
The RLAF’s fundraiser to provide humanitarian aid in Gaza has raised more than $4.6 million—according to latest reports made on 4 November. This amount, which broke the RLAF’s previous record of the most funds collected in a single fund-raiser, was accumulated in less than two weeks. The fundraiser is ongoing and will end on 17 November.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Red Cross sent more than $270,000 worth of relief supplies to civilians affected by the Gaza war. They have also deployed a staff member to Cairo, Egypt to facilitate the delivery of hygiene kits, clean water, food provisions, and medical consumables and equipment such as wheelchairs.
The Government has also contributed an additional $300,000 through the SRC.
Singapore maintains support for two-state solution and resolution
On 6 November, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong spoke about Singapore’s stand on the war, maintaining that Singapore had unchanged support for a two-state solution.
During the recent United Nations (UN) General Assembly, Singapore voted with the majority for a war truce, which would lead to the cessation of hostilities, as well as the release of all war prisoners.
“We are friends with both Israel and the Palestinians. But it doesn’t mean we support everything each side does. Instead, we consistently take a principled position, in line with international law and in support of global peace and security,” he added.