Lee Hsien Loong’s missed opportunity

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By: Tan Wah Piow

When Lee Hsien Loong led a delegation of 60 people to Israel this week, he should have invited Dr Ang Swee Chai to be on the delegation because she is the Singaporean who understands the Israel-Palestinian conflict better than anyone else in Singapore.

The Singapore establishment has spent millions abroad trying to woo Singaporeans to bring their talents home. Yet with this one great talent, it certainly did not cross Lee Hsien Loong’s mind that he could, and should have included Dr Ang in the Singapore delegation to Israel.

Lee Hsien Loong had paid lip service in his speech when he encouraged Israel to recognise the aspirations of the Palestinian people for the two-state solution. Yet, it was his host, Prime Minister Netanyahu, who systematically destroyed any chance of progress in the peace talks with the Palestinians.

If he is serious, Lee Hsien Loong should approach Dr Ang Swee Chai to consider serving as the Singapore’s roving Ambassador to Israel and the Middle-East.

With her long experience in the region, and knowledge of the plight of the Palestinians, she can bring a perspective, which many politicians and military leaders lack, to the resolution of the problems in the war-torn region. She understands the urgency for a solution through the cries of the Palestinian children she cared on his trips to the region.

Dr Ang will be attending the NUS alumni dinner in London on the 23 April. Will Lee Hsien Loong pick up his telephone to instruct the Singapore High Commissioner in London to raise the subject with Dr Ang?