JAKARTA: Indonesian officials and activists on Tuesday observed International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People amid calls to boost efforts for the independence of Palestine.
For decades, Indonesia has been a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause.
People and authorities in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country see Palestinian statehood as mandated by their own constitution, which calls for the abolition of colonialism.
In its preamble, the Indonesian constitution says that “independence is the inalienable right of every nation.”
Indonesian President Joko Widodo reaffirmed the nation’s commitment and “continuous support of the Palestinian independence,” when he hosted Palestine’s Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in Jakarta in late October.
Solidarity was also on display throughout November, which Indonesian activists declared the Month of Solidarity for Palestine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the fight for Palestine’s independence had “become more complex” in the wake of various global challenges, such as the post-coronavirus pandemic situation and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Indonesia will consistently support the Palestinian struggle … Unity in Palestine is a very important issue … and as such we have always emphasized that reconciliation must be pushed forward and supported by internal players in Palestine,” Bagus Hendraning Kobarsyih, Middle East director at the ministry, said during Tuesday’s solidarity day commemorations.
“We are ready to facilitate those steps toward reconciliation, Indonesia is also ready to give its support for Palestine to become a full member of the United Nations.”
A series of events to rally support were organized across the country by Aqsa Working Group to “send a message to the public that the advocacy for Al-Aqsa and Palestine is in line with the 1945 Constitution.”
The group derives its name from Al-Aqsa Mosque — the third-holiest site in Islam — in Israel-occupied East Jerusalem.
“Everything had come from our spirit for humanity,” Muhammad Anshorullah, head of the group’s executive committee, said during a closing event on Tuesday.
“Colonization is not in line with humanity and justice.”
Anshorullah told Arab News that the program also included advocacy to reject the participation of Israel’s national team in the FIFA Under-20 World Cup, which Indonesia is set to host next year.
Indonesia has no diplomatic relations with Israel. The Indonesian government has been repeatedly calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and for a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders.
Israel’s growing interest in normalizing relations with the Southeast Asian nation, following 2020 US-brokered accords with four other Muslim nations, has mobilized Indonesian activists to strengthen their efforts.
“Indonesia, we will not establish relations before Israel recognizes Palestine,” Hikmahanto Juwana, international relations expert and law professor at the University of Indonesia, told Arab News.
“We have the power to put pressure against Israel.”