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Jakarta Post

Trump’s condemnation

  • Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, May 14, 2019   /   09:00 am
Trump’s condemnation Prelude: Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi (left) meets with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki at Indonesia’s permanent representative office in New York, the United States, on Wednesday. The consultation meeting was held ahead of informal discussions on Palestine at the United Nations Security Council. (Courtesy of Foreign Ministry/-)

Jason Greenblatt, a senior adviser to United States President Donald Trump and close confidante of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, fiercely defended Israel, which he described as the only real democracy in the Middle East during a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Palestine at the UN headquarters last week.

Greenblatt should consider that the initiator of the meeting was Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy after India and the US and most populous, largely moderate Muslim-majority nation. Yet, Greenblatt apparently has one mission: to defend Israel at all costs.

Greenblatt’s remarks could also sour this year’s 70th anniversary of Indonesia-US diplomatic relations, which Indonesian Ambassador to the US Mahendra Siregar and US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan are focusing on. Trump is indeed the US’ most pro-Israeli president; still, his aide should not blindly defend Israel.

Indonesia has vowed to prioritize Palestinian issues since its two-year term as a nonpermanent member of the UNSC started in January. It would be much wiser and more productive for the Trump administration to avoid exhibiting a hostile attitude toward Indonesia.

Using harsh words, Greenblatt described Israel as a totally innocent victim of the Palestinians, who fought against Israeli’s encroachment on Palestinian territory. As president of the UNSC in May, Indonesia initiated the informal “Arria Formula” meeting on Palestine. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki was also invited to address the forum, which Indonesia cohosted with South Africa and Kuwait.

“It is truly shameful that in these halls there have been nearly 700 resolutions condemning actions of Israel, the region’s only real democracy, yet not one condemning Hamas’ attacks on Israelis or its abuse and neglect of the very people it claims to represent,” said Greenblatt, who flew in from Washington to “reprimand” the UNSC meeting.

Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi made it clear that Indonesia “will spare no effort to ensure the Palestinian issue remains one of the main focuses of the UN, the spirit of multilateralism is upheld and the peace process will continue based on the principles of international law and internationally agreed parameters”.

Unfortunately, close neighbors of Palestine and countries in the Arab world are becoming closer to the US, although in public they vowed to remain very loyal friends of the Palestinians. Palestine can continue to count on Indonesia, as President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has reiterated time and again that a free Palestine remains a priority in Indonesia’s foreign policy.