Palestine always at very heart of Indonesian foreign policy

Palestine always at very heart of Indonesian foreign policy

Illustration. The recent Solidarity Action for Palestine in Surabaya, which calls for support for the Palestinian people. (ANTARA/Zabur Karuru) ()

"The struggle of Palestine has been at the very heart of Indonesia`s foreign policy. In every aspect of Indonesian diplomacy, the Palestinian cause is present," Marsudi affirmed.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Palestine is the only country in the world that has remained under Israeli occupation since nearly 70 years ago.

Having experienced what it means to be colonized by foreign forces, Indonesia, which gained independence on Aug 17, 1945, has always been against colonialism and, therefore, supportive of the Palestinian struggle for independence.

Indonesias commitment to help Palestine achieve its freedom through diplomatic means was reiterated by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Retno Marsudi, while giving a briefing in her office on Oct 26, 2017, on Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administrations achievement in terms of Indonesias foreign policy.

"The struggle of Palestine has been at the very heart of Indonesias foreign policy. In every aspect of Indonesian diplomacy, the Palestinian cause is present," Marsudi affirmed.

Indonesias Honorary Consulate in Ramallah was established in 2016 and has become a path for closer relations with the Palestinian people.

Marsudi had traveled a long way from Jakarta to Amman, Jordan, to induct Maha Alkhus Hussein, who is also known as Maha Abu-Shusheh, as Indonesias first-ever lady honorary consul to Palestine.

Peace in Jerusalem has also become Indonesias concern that it hosted the Fifth Extraordinary OIC Summit on Palestine and Al-Quds Al-Sharif in Jakarta in 2016 and attended the OIC executive committee discussing Jerusalem in Istanbul in August 2017.

Furthermore, the Indonesian government has provided technical assistance for capacity building and development to the Palestinian people.

"Indonesia has provided training courses for thousands of Palestinians," Marsudi remarked.

In fact, Palestine is one of the countries which is prioritized by the Indonesian government to receive assistance in development and capacity building programs.

Indonesia has provided more than 159 capacity building training programs in various fields for more than 1.2 thousand Palestinians.

The capacity building program is a commitment of the Indonesian Government within the framework of South-South Cooperation, which is aimed at promoting development cooperation among developing countries.

With a strong belief in national unity, as a key for the success of the fight against colonialists, the Government of Indonesia recently lauded a peace agreement between Hamas and Fatah, two groups in Palestine that have been at odds for the past decades.

"We positively welcome this reconciliation, as we have long encouraged this step between these two warring groups in Palestine," Marsudi remarked on Oct 13.

According to the foreign minister, reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas will help Palestine to become a nation and an independent country.

"The reconciliation could pave the path for Palestine to gain independence," Marsudi noted.

The groups have reached an agreement on political reconciliation, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement, without elaborating on the content of the Egyptian-brokered deal.

Fatah, backed by the West, lost control of Gaza during the civil war in 2007 to Hamas, which is viewed as a terrorist organization by several Western nations, and Israel.

"Fatah and Hamas reached an agreement this morning during negotiations, mediated by Egypt," Haniyeh remarked on Oct 12.

Egypt helped mediate efforts to reconcile the two factions and form a unified government, with power-sharing in Gaza and the West Bank.

An Indonesian legislator, Rofi Munawar, also expressed his support towards the reconciliation steps reached by Hamas and Fatah.

"I am very happy and appreciative of the Palestinian reconciliation deal, which is a very positive and a productive step," Munawar revealed in a statement.

The PKS politician made the statement during the 137th General Conference of the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) held in Saint Petersburg, Russia, recently.

Indonesia and Palestine have always shared a strong relationship and forged close cooperation despite the geographical distance between them.

Palestine was among the first nations to have recognized Indonesias declaration of independence, and Indonesia has been a staunch supporter for Palestines liberation from the occupation of Israel.

"As long as Palestine does not gain its independence, Indonesia will keep challenging the Israeli occupation," Jokowi had said in his opening remarks at an extraordinary summit of OIC, held in Jakarta, on March 7, 2016.

The presidents observation was a direct quote from the response of the countrys founding father president Sukarno, when asked in 1962 by a reporter as to why Indonesia did not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

So far, all seven Indonesian presidents have been consistent in supporting Palestines struggle for independence.

Such a stance is, in fact, in line with the countrys Constitution, UUD1945, which states that Indonesia is against colonialism on Earth.(*)