Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia`s commitment to support the Palestinian struggle has never been stopped.

As a manifestation of that commitment, Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs had held a Solidarity Week for Palestine that took place on October 13-17, 2018 coinciding with the visit of the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, to Indonesia.

"This is showing the continuity of Indonesia`s commitment to Palestine and will give a better understanding and concern of the Indonesian people for the struggle of the Palestinian people," said Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi at that time.

During one week, the Indonesian Solidarity Week for Palestine was filled with various activities involving the government; international institutions dealing with Palestinian refugees, such as UNRWA; humanitarian NGOs; interfaith leaders; philanthropic professionals; and Indonesian civilians.

The activity was part of Indonesia`s full support for Palestine which continues to be demonstrated at every opportunity, among others international meetings, humanitarian and peace assistance, as well as capacity building and economic cooperation programs. "Palestine is always present in every breath of Indonesian diplomacy," said Foreign Minister Marsudi.

On October 13, the Indonesian Foreign Minister, the Palestinian Foreign Minister and the Mayor of Bandung also inaugurated the Palestine Walk, an 80 meter-long park in downtown Bandung that illustrates support and reminder for the spirit of the struggle for Palestinian independence that still echoes in the hearts of the Indonesian people. Palestinian Foreign Minister Maliki also had the opportunity to have discussions with hundreds of students at the Museum of the Asian-African Conference in Bandung.

Bandung is one of the Indonesian cities having close connection in the history of Indonesia`s support to Palestinian Independence. In 1955, Bandung was the host for the first Asian-African Conference (AAC) which among others resulted in Asian-African Countries` support to Palestinian Independence. The fighting spirit in Bandung was reiterated in the 2005 and 2015 AAC meetings in Bandung. The AAC Monument at one of the end points of Palestine Walk symbolizes the hope of achieving Palestinian independence which is a major goal of AAC member countries.

"The support of the Indonesian people will never fade until the Palestinian people obtain their independence," Foreign Minister Marsudi stressed.

Moreover, on October 14 in Jakarta, the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Palestine together with community and interfaith leaders walked together on the event of "Walk for Peace and Humanity" on the occasion the Car Free Day. The activity was aimed at strengthening community solidarity and understanding of Indonesia`s contribution and role for the struggle of the Palestinian independence.

Furthermore, the Indonesian Foreign Minister and the Palestinian Foreign Minister held the first Indonesia-Palestine bilateral consultation meeting on October 16, 2018 to translate the good relations between the two countries into concrete cooperation.

At the first bilateral consultations between the two countries, Indonesian government declared commitment to provide assistance of more than 110 billion Rupiah or US$7 million to support Palestine.

"This is a concrete contribution from a united Indonesia, from the community as well as the government, to Palestine," said the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, during a joint press statement with the Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riad Malki, after the first bilateral consultations between the two countries.

The assistance was ratified by the signing of an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between related parties witnessed by the two Foreign Ministers.

As part of the total assistance, Indonesia will significantly increase its contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from US$200 thousand to US$2 million for the period of 2019-2020.

In the meantime, the Indonesian people`s aid to Palestine reached a value of US$2.92 million dollars and two thousand tons of rice. One of the aid supports was given by the Indonesian philanthropist Tahir Foundation with the value of around US$1.3 million for UNRWA.

Besides, the Indonesian National Zakat Agency (Baznas) will also give financial assistance to UNRWA and the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization for Palestinian Refugees. The Council of Indonesian Ulemas (MUI) is currently in the process of discussing plans to build an Indonesian hospital in Hebron.

The total assistance will also include capacity building programs provided by Indonesia for the Palestinians. The Indonesian government will contribute the sum of US$2 million over the next three years for cooperation in capacity building in the framework of Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (CEAPAD). This capacity building is hoped to have a direct impact on the welfare of Palestinians and for the independence of a free Palestine.

In 2019, Indonesia will train 90 officers and Palestinian citizens in the field of women`s empowerment, good governance, the cultivation of tropical fruits, the field of drug and food supervision and flight training with Commercial Pilot License (CPL) certificates in Indonesian flight schools. The Forum of Rectors and Indonesia`s Padjajaran University (UNPAD) will also provide scholarships for Palestinian students as part of the efforts to prepare the young Palestinian generation.

Since 2008, Indonesia has trained 1,887 Palestinian officers and citizens covering 171 fields of expertise, including in the fields of government, law enforcement, drug and food control, and various other technical fields.

The first Indonesia-Palestine Bilateral Consultation led by the Indonesian and the Palestinian Foreign Ministers has become a forum to translate the good relations between the two countries into concrete cooperation and real assistance. The two Foreign Ministers also signed a memorandum of understanding on the Establishment of a Joint Commission which will be a discussion forum to enhance bilateral cooperation in the technical field.

The two Foreign Ministers agreed to strengthen cooperation in the trade sector, in particular among business communities through the establishment of the Indonesia-Palestine business Council. The Palestinian Foreign Minister, Riyad al-Maliki, also expressed his appreciation for Indonesia`s free tariff policy for Palestinian products since 2018 considering that the trade sector is one of the most important factors for an independent free Palestinian.

Overall, the assistance provided by Indonesia to support Palestinian independence is indeed comprehensive and inclusive which covers various aspects, including political, economic and social aspects. Eventually, Indonesia is really a true friend of Palestine towards independence.

Editing by Andi Abdussalam

Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Heru Purwanto
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