The Jakarta Post
Following Israel's call for official bilateral relations with Indonesia, this country's lawmakers will keep pushing the government to not establish diplomatic ties with Israel as Indonesia strongly opposes the former's occupation of Palestinian land .
Israel has long wanted to have bilateral relations with Indonesia, Tantowi Yahya, a lawmaker from the House of Representatives commission I that oversees foreign and security affairs said on Wednesday.
Indonesia's stance in support of Palestine was taken in accordance with the Constitution, which asserted that independence was the natural right of every nation. Israel's wish to have formal ties with Indonesia would remain a mere wish as long as the country still occupies Palestinian land, said the Golkar lawmaker.
"We will not forge diplomatic ties with a country that colonizes another country. That is the mandate of our Constitution," Tantowi said as quoted by kompas.com on Wednesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had expressed his hope for Indonesia and Israel to begin official relations to a delegation of senior Indonesian journalists invited to the country on Monday.
Netanyahu said both countries had many opportunities to cooperate, such as in the fields of water and technology. He also said Israel has good relations with several countries in Asia, particularly China, Japan, India and Vietnam.
"The time has come to change our relations; the reasons that prevented this are no longer relevant and I hope that your visit will help with this," he said as quoted by the Israeli Foreign Ministry's website, www.mfa.gov.il, on Monday.
Commission I chairman Mahfudz Siddiq criticized the senior journalists' visit to Israel, saying it clashed with Indonesia's full support of Palestinian independence from occupation by Israel.
He said the journalists' decision to accept Israel's invitation reflected their insensitivity toward Indonesia's policy of support for Palestinian independence.
He also slammed Israel's ambitious move to start diplomatic ties with Indonesia and invited the journalists to help create an alternative public opinion about Israel.
Mahfudz added that President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had reaffirmed Indonesia's stance against Israel during the the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Summit in Jakarta earlier this month, when he called for countries to boycott products made in the occupied territories.
"Not only because Indonesia strongly refuses any form of occupation in the world, but also because Israeli actions against Palestine have been condemned by many countries in the world," said the Prosperous Justice Party lawmaker as quoted by tribunnews.com. (afr/rin)
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