Indonesia will always stand with Palestine, says Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi

Indonesia will always stand with Palestine, says Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi
Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi wore the Palestinian scarf to express her country's solidarity with the Palestinians. (AN photo)
Updated 08 December 2017

Indonesia will always stand with Palestine, says Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi

Indonesia will always stand with Palestine, says Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi

JAKARTA: Hundreds of protesters staged a rally in front of the US Embassy in Jakarta on Friday, demanding that US President Donald Trump reconsider his decision to declare America’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono told Arab News that there were roughly 500 protesters in the rally.
Agus Sudarmaji, the director of the Al-Aqsa Working Group, based in Bogor, West Java, told Arab News that his group helped to coordinate the rally to show their support for Palestine.
Youth groups affiliated with Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), also attended.
“If the US doesn’t respond to our demands to withdraw its move, we will hold bigger rallies not just in Jakarta but also in other cities,” Asep Irfan Mujahid, head of the Association of NU Students, told Arab News.
Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi told journalists on Friday that she met with the US Ambassador to Indonesia, Josep Donovan, on Thursday, on the sidelines of the Bali Democracy Forum.
“I have conveyed our official position as President Widodo instructed regarding US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Marsudi said.
In her opening speech at the forum, Marsudi declared, “Indonesia will always stand with Palestine.”
“I stand here, wearing the Palestinian scarf to show the strong commitment of Indonesia, of the people of Indonesia, to always stand with the Palestinian people for their rights,” Marsudi told delegates from 99 countries.
President Joko Widodo said in a statement that Indonesia strongly condemned the US’ unilateral move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and demanded it reconsider its decision. He also called on members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to unite in sending a strong message to the US.
Reza Widyarsa, a lecturer at the University of Indonesia’s Middle East and Islamic Studies Department, told Arab News that Indonesia could play a more active role as a mediator, in cooperation with a country that has diplomatic ties with, and a less confrontational stance toward, Israel.
NU Secretary-General Helmy Faishal Zaini said the NU urged the government to play a more proactive role in the crisis and “strongly condemns the unilateral recognition.”
“We also urge the OIC to mobilize its members to support Palestine’s independence,” Zaini added.
Yenny Wahid, director of the Wahid Foundation and daughter of the late President Abdurrahman Wahid, said the decision could trigger global instability, especially in Muslim-majority countries.
The head of the Indonesian Ulema Council Advisory Board and chairman of the Indonesia-Palestine Friendship Initiative, Din Syamsuddin, said in a statement that the American move “clearly puts a dead end on the long-standing peace process.”
“It could also spur radicalism among Muslims who react to the global injustice that the US has created,” Syamsuddin added.
Indonesia’s ruling party, the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDIP), said it “deeply regrets” the decision and has instructed its cadres who are members of the House of Representatives’ Commission I, which oversees foreign policy, to take active and progressive measures to support Palestinian independence.
“Efforts to support Palestine’s independence should be the main guideline for all Indonesia’s diplomacy,” the party’s secretary general Hasto Kristiyanto said.