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|Date: 23 September 2011 - Author: Antara|
|The Indonesian government has expressed its support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas`s intention to secure full United Nations membership for his country with the formal bid to be made on Friday, September 23, 2011.|
|The support was once again expressed by Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa in a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Riad al-Maliki on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly session at the UN Headquarters in New York on Tuesday (Sept 20).|
Whatever the option the Palestinians will take or the result of the UN membership application process, Indonesia will continue to give its full support to the Palestinian cause, especially through the Non-Aligned Movement and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Marty told reporters following his meeting with Al-Maliki.
The minister said the fact that Palestine was now seeking UN membership did not mean the Palestine-Israel peace process was being abandoned.
"In fact, the Palestinians have been forced to do something after no progress was made in the peace process. However, priority will continue to be given to the peace process. It is hoped the UN membership bid will lead to a revival of the stalled peace process," he said.
Palestine had had to go through a long and winding process to present its case to the UN Security Council, according to deputy chairman of the House of Representatives` Foreign Affairs Commission I Hayono Suyono who also attended the meeting between Minister Marty and Minister al-Maliki.
"It will not be easy because I have noticed efforts by a certain country to intimidate nations supporting Palestine. In politics this is actually a common thing. But again, we certainly wish countries who are pro-democracy and pro-human rights could understand the misery the Palestinian people have suffered for so long," he said.
"How much longer will they (Palestinian people) have to be punished by injustices, especially at the hands of countries that claim to be democratic and to respect human rights. They actually know very well how to meet the genuine aspirations and desire of the Palestinian people," he said.
Minister al-Maliki said he was convinced Palestine would get support from nine countries in the UNSC. "So long as we have friends like Indonesia who understands our aspirations," he said.
Indonesia will continue to support Palestine`s bid to become a member of the United Nations and keep monitoring developments around it, Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said.
Marty said Indonesia continued lobbying various countries to make them support the Palestinian bid.
"Our efforts are being made not only at national level but also at international level through the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and other multilateral organizations," he said.
On paper, Palestine is in a strong position to obtain recognition from the UN General Assembly because it has the support of member states of NAM, the Arab League, the OIC and the African groups, according to ASEAN Foundation Executive Director Dr Makarim Wibisono, a prominent senior diplomat, in a discussion on "Palestine State and the UN" organized by the Indonesian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) in Jakarta recently.
Palestine must get at least two-thirds of the votes in the UN General Assembly or 128 countries to gain full UN membership status.
"US President Barack Obama had earlier expressed his support for Palestine to get international recognition," he said.
It reflected Obama`s personal view on the solution of the Middle East problem, he added. However, in July 2011, US officials stated the US would use its veto right if Palestine applied for UN membership, Makarim said.
In the discussion, Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi said Palestine was very serious in its struggle to gain independence and would continue to do so until it reached its objectives no matter how long it would take.
The Palestinian people were inspired by the Indonesian people`s struggle for independence which ended with success after fighting the Dutch colonists for around 350 years, he said.
He expressed gratitude for Indonesia`s staunch support for his country`s cause.
"We feel strong because we are supported by many countries. When almost the whole world supports you, you never feel weak and vulnerable. You will have confidence. That`s how we feel. Unlike Israel, we don`t feel isolated," he said.
Al Muzzamil Yusuf, coordinator of the Indonesian Parliament`s Caucus for Palestine, said in the seminar that US President Barack Obama must keep his promise to support Palestine`s UN membership bid.
"I hope President Obama will not veto Palestine in its bid to gain full membership in the UN on September 23, 2011," the legislator said.
If Obama supported Palestine, he would be recorded in world history as a great leader, Yusuf said.
Indonesia`s support for Palestine is in line with the country`s 1945 Constitution which among other things states that "Freedom is the right of every nation, and therefore colonialism must be abolished in this world, because it is against humanity and justice."
Meanwhile, Guspiabri Sumowigeno, director of the Center for Indonesian National Policy Studies (CINAPS), said recently the UN was obliged to recognize Palestine because since the beginning Palestine had been one the issues the UN Decolonization Committee wss assigned to address while Palestine`s cause received support from many countries.
The UN, however, prioritized to least-Muslim populated East Timor and South Sudan by facilitating a referendum for their independence, leaving behind Palestine , he said.
Instead of Palestine, South Sudan, which was began fighting for independence much later than Palestine , was now the newest member of the UN. This, Guspiabri said, clearly was discrimination.
He said the Palestinian problem wass the root of the world`s most difficult and dangerous international conflicts.
The world should remind the United States not to make a hasty decision by using its veto to stop the Palestinian bid for UN membership, he said.
"Strong world opinion supporting Palestine`s UN membership bid could eventually persuade the United States not to follow Israeli`s wish," he said.
A stronger statement on the US veto was made by Said Aqil Siroj, the chairman of the Nahdlatul Ulama Executive Board (PBNU), Indonesia`s largest Muslim organization.
The United States would be undemocratic if it uses its veto right against Palestine`s bid for UN membership, he said.
"It would be very regrettable if America vetoes a United Nations decision. Moreover, during the early days of his administration, Obama had claimed that he did not hate Islam, and that America was the most democratic nation in the world," PBNU Chief Said Aqil said in Jakarta recently.
According to Said Aqil, it was now high time for Palestine to become an independent nation in line with the decision of the UN Security Council on Palestinian territories in 1967.
"Palestine should have become independent in 1967. It`s the decision of the UN, we all must support it. A majority of Palestine`s population are Muslims, and it`s the obligation of NU to support their independence," he said.
The Palestinian official news agency Wafa recently quoted President Abbas as saying that a UN vote on an independent Palestine boosts the principle of the two-state solution with Israel. The Palestinians want a state on territories occupied by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
However, Washington, Israel`s main ally, has already announced it will use its veto to block the Palestinian bid in the Security Council.
"This is the moment of truth," said Nabeel Shaath, an adviser of President Mahmoud Abbas adviser, regarding the bid for full UN membership despite the pressures from the US and Israel.
"There will no back-tracking , reticence or hesitation in completing our mission of seeking international support for recognition of our independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders," Shaath stated.