JAKARTA: President Joko Widodo pledged continued support for Palestine on Monday as he sent off the second consignment of Indonesian humanitarian assistance for Gaza.
Widodo oversaw the dispatching of aid from the Halim Perdanakusuma military airport in Jakarta, alongside his cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Sri Mulyani and Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin.
“I reiterate once again that Indonesia will continue to support the struggle of the Palestinian people,” Widodo said in a press conference.
Two military aircraft will carry the second batch of assistance, comprising 21 tons of medicine, food, hygiene kit, blankets, mattresses, and medical equipment for hospitals. Indonesia’s first consignment of humanitarian aid was dispatched on Nov. 4.
Widodo noted that aid items were selected “based on the needs of the people in Gaza” and had come from the government and the people.
“Besides humanitarian assistance, Indonesia will also give continued political support for Palestine,” he said. “The Indonesian foreign minister will also be visiting several countries to rally support to end the atrocities in Gaza, to implement a ceasefire as soon as possible, and for humanitarian aid to be allowed through to help our brothers in Gaza.”
Widodo and his foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, have in the past month actively advocated for Palestine in their international engagements, including during the president’s meeting with US President Joe Biden last week, where he urged Washington to “do more” to end the atrocities in Gaza.
Marsudi was in Beijing on Monday with a delegation of Arab and Muslim ministers, including Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan. They are on the first leg of a tour to meet officials representing each of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to push for an end to the hostilities in the devastated Palestinian enclave.
At least 13,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its daily bombardment of the already besieged enclave on Oct. 7, in retaliation for an attack by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas.
Two-thirds of the dead are women and children, according to the UN, while Palestinian health authorities estimate that thousands of people are still buried underneath the ruins of buildings destroyed by Israeli bombs.
Indonesia has long been a staunch supporter of Palestine, with its government seeing Palestinian statehood as mandated by their own constitution, which calls for the abolition of colonialism.
“I am very glad to see that our country is supporting and facilitating humanitarian aid (for Gaza),” Indonesian actress Shireen Sungkar told reporters. “Now we pray that our efforts will arrive there safely just like the first aid shipment that they have thankfully received.”
Fadil Jaidi, another Indonesian public figure, was thankful to his fellow Indonesians for contributing to the cause.
“May this be of help to our brothers and sisters in Palestine,” he said.