On the conflict in Israel, Gaza, and now possibly widening to Lebanon, most Southeast Asian states are saying little or noting their neutrality—as Thailand has—while making anodyne calls for a resolution of violence. Thailand has had twelve citizens killed and eleven kidnapped in the conflict, and over one thousand migrant workers in Israel are seeking to return to Thailand. As the Nation Thailand reported, Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Jakkapong Sangmanee stated, “Thailand’s stance towards the deadly Hamas-led attack against Israel is one of neutrality, and the Kingdom promotes a solution that would allow Palestine and Israel to coexist.”
Most other mainland Southeast Asian states have said little. Manila is working to protect its citizens in Israel while denouncing the violence in abstract terms. Singapore has built a close relationship with Israel over the years and issued statements that harshly condemn Hamas’ brutal tactics and call for a cessation of violence.
On the other hand, Indonesia and Malaysia, the two Southeast Asian states with Muslim majorities (other than Brunei), and in Indonesia's case, a long-time donor to Gaza, made tough statements that leaned toward condemnation of Israel. As Voice of America reported, Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement expressing concern about the escalating conflict between Palestinians and Israelis. A statement published on X, formerly known as Twitter, said, “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.” Without naming Hamas as the attacker, the ministry said in a separate tweet, “The root of the conflict, namely the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel, must be resolved, in accordance with the parameters agreed upon by the UN.”
Malaysia, despite its generally pro-U.S. stance, had much the same to say. According to Channel News Asia, Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to take immediate action to call on all parties to cease acts of violence amid clashes between Israel and Hamas in and around the Gaza Strip. But he “also accused the international community, especially Western powers, of appearing indifferent to actions taken by Israel against the Palestinian people.”