Israel relentlessly bombarded the Gaza Strip with hundreds of air strikes after Palestinian militants last Saturday rained rockets on the Jewish state and gunmen stormed its cities, killing hundreds and abducting dozens, including foreigners.
Duterte told broadcaster SMNI News that if he were Netanyahu, he would eliminate Hamas by razing the sealed-off enclave to the ground.
“I will crush Hamas. I will give them 48 hours to get out of the place. If not, I will flatten it. No more Gaza to fight for,” said Duterte, who retired from politics in 2022 after completing his six-year term in office.
He also urged civilians to back off because he would “pulverise Gaza and make it the biggest cemetery in the world”.
However, Manila denounced the attacks last week and mourned the deaths of two Filipinos in Israel.
Israel’s envoy to the Philippines Ilan Fluss expressed his condolences to the families of the victims as Manila advised its nationals to delay their trips to the Middle Eastern nation until the offensive ends.
According to the United Nations, the Israeli air strikes had also left several Gaza neighbourhoods reduced to rubble and forced more than 260,000 people to flee their homes.
Manila’s Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said six of its citizens remain missing in Israel, where about 30,000 Filipinos work, mostly as carers. Some 167 are in Gaza.
It said dozens of Filipinos, including the ones living in Gaza, have sought to return home, while the Department of Migrant Workers said there was still no ban on deploying labourers to the war-hit country.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines said it has devised a possible evacuation plan for stranded Filipinos and kept military transport aircraft on standby.
Across Southeast Asia, there continue to be varied responses to Hamas’s Saturday attack.
“The logic of the ‘root cause’ argument about Palestine or terrorism in general is fundamentally flawed,” Bilahari, a former permanent secretary of the republic’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote.
“Just because one party commits injustices does not excuse injustice by another party and this is really just an excuse for terrorism masquerading as an ‘explanation’,” he added.
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