The Jakarta Post
Reactions against Monday’s move by the Israeli authorities to stop Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa and his fellow envoys from Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) nations entering Ramallah have piled up, with lawmakers calling for the Indonesian government to bring the case to the United Nations.
“Indonesia and 12 other members of NAM condemn the Israeli government for arbitrarily disbanding the Ramallah meeting of the NAM committee on Palestine, on Sunday. The meeting was to review Israel’s policy on occupied Palestine, and to express solidarity with the suffering of the Palestinian people,” the NAM committee on Palestine said in a statement made available to The Jakarta Post on Monday.
The committee said that NAM accused Israel of violating international principles by refusing to allow the NAM delegation to enter Ramallah.
The move has confirmed that Palestinians, who have been fighting for independence since 1967, have indeed been through great suffering under the Israeli occupation, the statement said.
“NAM will not bow down to Israel. We will discuss the matter with our New York-based coordination bureau before deciding on further action,” the statement said.
Separately, members of the House of Representatives called upon the Indonesian government to bring the issue to the UN and put pressure on the Israeli government.
“We cannot accept such humiliating treatment of our officials by the Israeli government. The country should respect representatives from all countries, despite their bilateral relations. The NAM representatives came to Ramallah for peace,” Deputy House Speaker Priyo Budi Santoso told reporters on Monday.
Chairman of House Commission I overseeing foreign affairs, Mahfudz Shiddiq, encouraged the government to deliver a strongly worded statement against the Israeli government.
“Such a protest is important to highlight the fact that Israel has no political intention of promoting peaceful solutions in its dispute with the Palestinian government. Indonesia must encourage fellow NAM members to appeal to the United States, a close ally of Israel, to put pressure on the Israeli government, and find a peaceful solution to the problem,” Mahfudz told The Jakarta Post.
Mahfudz also said that it would be an opportunity for the US to prove its commitment to world peace by convincing Israel to drop its iron-fist policy toward the Palestinian people.
The Prosperous Justice Party (PKS) politician encouraged the government to continue with its plan to open a representative office in Ramallah.
“I hope the incident will not impact on our plan to open a representative office or a honorary consulate in Ramallah in the near future,” he said.
Separately, political analyst Dewi Fortuna Anwar of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) said that Israel’s refusal to grant entry to the NAM representatives reflected the country’s refusal to interact with NAM members, an important part of the global community.
“Israel has obviously failed to express any intention to build peaceful relations with countries that have ties to Palestine. It has besmirched its image in the eyes of the countries with the largest Muslim populations in the world, such as Indonesia.
“Indonesia could have built ties with Israel in the future, but the recent incident has closed all doors. As the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia is really important for Israel, as well as for its ally, the US,” Dewi said.