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24 Dec, 2013

Indonesia Calls for More Vigorous Efforts to Support Palestine


Jakarta, December 23 2013, (Antara News) – Indonesia has been supporting Palestine consistently and incessantly over the past six decades and has pledged to continue to do so until an independent Palestine state is established.

The endless support is not because majority of Palestinian and Indonesian people are Muslims, but above all, it is based on humanitarian consideration, stated Din Syamsuddin, chairman of Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization Muhammadiyah, recently.

He noted that Indonesia’s people, from different religions, are eager to see Palestine achieve its independence based on a two-state solution, justice and peaceful co-existence.

Speaking in the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in Jakarta, last November, the Indonesian foreign affairs ministry’s Director of Socio-Cultural and International Organization of Developing Countries Arko Hananto Budiadi, stated that Palestine is very close to the hearts of the Indonesian people as they have also experienced colonialism in the past.

Indonesia, a staunch supporter of Palestine, is committed to helping Palestine in becoming an independent state, with a UN full membership status, as well in providing capacity building programs to enable the Palestinian people run administrative functions effectively.

During the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) Ministerial Conference on Capacity Building for Palestine in Jakarta, on July 14-15, 2008, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had assured Indonesia’s commitment to providing training programs for 1000 Palestinians within a five years period (2008-2013).

So far, Indonesia has trained more than 1,200 Palestinians, exceeding the target of 1,000 people, stated Budiadi.

Among the training programs organized this year, was the one in the field of microfinance for 30 Palestinians, with an aim to boost economic independence in the occupied territories.

The training to empower Palestinians through the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) was held on April 12-15 in Amman, Jordan.

According to Budiadi, Indonesia will organize a conference on Cooperation Among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (Ceapad) early next year.

The inaugural conference on Ceapad was held in Tokyo on February 13-14, with participation from Japan (host), Palestine (co-host), Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam, Republic of Korea, League of Arab States, Islamic Development Bank, United Nations, U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and World Bank.

Ceapad is an international conference for East Asian countries to discuss new ways of assistance to and cooperation with Palestine for its nation-building efforts. It was established on Japan’s initiative to back the realization of peace through the “two-state solution,” which is a core challenge in the Middle Eastern and North African regions.

Earlier this year, Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi appreciated Ceapad member countries for their support toward the developments in Palestine.

“Each country has, in its own capacity, provided assistance to Palestinians,” he stated.

To help Palestinian refugees, Indonesia has increased its contribution to UNRWA from US$20 thousand to US$100 thousand since last year.

“We are grateful for that. On this day of solidarity, I would like to call upon your generosity to further increase Indonesia’s support. I look forward to seeing our relationship deepen and grow further,” stated Esther Kuish Laroche, chief of UNRWA’s Donor Relations Division, in her keynote speech at the commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, in Jakarta, on November 28.

However, Laroche, who flew from Jerusalem to Jakarta, appealed to Indonesia for an increase in its contribution as the agency has been facing a funding shortfall of US$37 million until the end of the year.

“Without the required funds, we will not be able to pay the salaries of teachers, medical personnel, social workers and other staff in December, which will bring our operations to a standstill,” she pointed out.

The appeal was immediately acknowledged by the Chairman of the Indonesia-Palestine Friendship Initiative Din Syamsuddin, who presented a symbolic contribution of Rp400 million to the Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi at the event.

The financial assistance, initially meant for the construction of a Muhammadiyah school in Palestine, will now be handed to UNRWA for Palestinian refugees, added Syamsuddin.

Ambassador Mehdawi, on the occasion, thanked Muhammadiyah, the Indonesian people and the government for their continuous support to Palestine.

The commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was organized at the Muhammadiyah headquarters in Menteng by the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) in Jakarta, in cooperation with the Indonesian foreign affairs ministry, the Indonesia-Palestine Friendship Initiative and the Palestinian embassy.

In early October, Desra Percaya, Indonesia’s Permanent Representative to United Nations was elected Vice chairman of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP), in a meeting held at UN Headquarters, New York.

“One of the responsibilities as Vice Chairman is to appreciate and recognize the support that has always been shown by the Indonesian government and its people toward the struggle of the Palestinians,” stated Desra Percaya in a press release.

With the new role, Indonesia will now call for more vigorous efforts to strengthen international support for the Palestinian people, he pledged.

As part of the cultural show, the Palestine National Orchestra (PNO) and several Palestinian singers performed for the first time in Jakarta, last March, sponsored by PT Agate Indonesia Selaras (Agate Convex) and the Palestine Embassy.