Dozens of protesters mobilized by Amnesty International (AI) Taiwan and several other civic groups in the country staged a demonstration near the Israeli representative office in Taipei yesterday, demanding that Israel stop its military actions in the Gaza Strip.
“We cannot but feel the horror of the effects of so much bombardment and ground fire on the Gaza civilians, who have already suffered gravely from your government's blockade of even humanitarian aid and supplies,” said AI Taiwan chairman Peter Huang (黃文雄), reading an open letter to Israeli President Shimon Peres in English, before handing the letter to a staffer at the Israeli office.
“This does not mean, of course, that our feelings of moral horror does not extend to the lost lives of Israeli civilians,” Huang said. “On the contrary, it is for the sake of preventing more lives from being lost and for the possible beginning of a more durable peace that we're writing to you.”
Israel launched its latest offensive on Dec. 27 in an attempt to halt rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled territory.
According to wire reports, 22 Israelis have been killed in Hamas rocket attacks, while more than 760 Palestinians — mostly civilians — have lost their lives since Israel began the mass offensive.
Hung Hung (鴻鴻), a poet, read three poems during the protest — one by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai that tells how Israeli civilians suffer from Hamas attacks, another by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish that recounts how a Palestinian mother mourns the death of her son after the Israeli offensive, and a third one that he wrote himself, describing his joy upon learning of the withdrawal of Israeli troops in 2002.
The reading was followed by a minute of silence for those who have lost their lives in the conflict.
A staffer from the Israeli representative office came out of the building to accept the protest letter from the demonstrators.
Meanwhile, Israeli Representative Raphael Gamzou criticized AI for not fully disclosing its intention when it asked for a meeting, but added that his invitation for an open dialogue remained.
Gamzou said the group failed to conduct itself with “integrity” and that the Israeli office only found out about the demonstration from local law enforcement authorities.
He said that by lodging a protest in front of the Israeli office, AI had already shown its bias.
The office had expected the group to present an anti-violence petition.
Gamzou said although he respects the group, he declined to meet with AI officers because he refused to be an “actor in their sitcom” as he was never informed by the group it was planning to stage a demonstration.
During the eight-year-long Hamas-initiated attacks against Israeli civilians, he said he never saw “any expressions of anger and sadness from Amnesty International Taiwan or any local NGOs.”
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY JENNY W. HSU
DIPLOMATIC MOVES: Beijing is reportedly pressing the state after reports of forming links with Taiwan, while the ministry is also planning to reopen its office in Guam soon A representative office is set to open in Somaliland at the end of this month, at the earliest, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday amid reports that Beijing is sending a diplomatic delegation to the east African country. The ministry on July 1 announced that Taiwan and Somaliland would establish representative offices, following a report by the Somaliland Chronicle Web site. It said at the time that the two nations did not plan to establish formal ties. Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi has instructed close confidants to explore the possibility of “mutual recognition between Taiwan and Somaliland,” the Somaliland Chronicle reported
‘IMMORAL, INSINCERE’: Huang Kun-huei said that Ma was ‘distorting history’ in claiming that Lee Teng-hui laid the foundation for the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ Former Presidential Office secretary-general Huang Kun-huei (黃昆輝) on Saturday rejected former president Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) claim that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) had been a proponent of Beijing’s “one China” principle. Lee, who served as president from 1988 to 2000, died in Taipei on Thursday last week. After visiting the Taipei Guest House on Saturday to pay his respects to Lee, Ma posted on Facebook that “28 years ago on this day” Lee hosted a session of the now-defunct National Unification Council, during which he passed a resolution on the “one China” principle. That resolution became the basis of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s
NEW ERA: Taiwan, which has controlled its virus outbreak, now faces the challenge of safely resuming economic exchanges with other nations, Chang Shan-chwen said People should not focus entirely on having zero new confirmed COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, but neglect overall control over the disease situation, Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) specialist advisory panel convener Chang Shan-chwen (張上淳) said yesterday. Chang made the remark at a forum in Taipei discussing the steps Taiwan should take in the post-pandemic era, organized by the Chinese-language magazine Global Views Monthly. Chang, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Director-General Chou Jih-haw (周志浩), and Stanford University’s Center for Policy, Outcomes and Prevention director C. Jason Wang (王智弘) each made a presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Chang, Wang and Buddhist Tzu
A Belgian man who tested positive for COVID-19 in Taiwan last week is likely to have contracted the disease in Taipei in late June, National Taiwan University (NTU) College of Public Health vice dean Tony Chen (陳秀熙) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) on Saturday reported that the man, who is in his 20s, came to Taiwan for work on May 3 and tested positive on Wednesday last week as he was about to depart. The man in March reported loss of taste and smell, the center said, adding that he worked in Changhua County, but visited Taipei several times,