Palestine Seeking Support From Indonesia, Asean


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (AFP File Photo)

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501356 facepalm7:52pm Feb 29, 2012SBY – that handshake with Obama is but a fading memory now isn’t it… Welcome to the new axis of terror.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has called on the 10 members of the Southeast Asian regional bloc, known as Asean, to unite in supporting the Palestinian bid for statehood.

During his meeting with Indonesia’s ambassador to the US, Dino Patti Djalal, in Amman on Tuesday, Abbas said he deeply appreciated Indonesia’s strong support for the nation’s independence and asked the other Asean members to follow suit.

Dino met with Abbas in his private residence to deliver President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s letter.

“President Abbas really hopes that Asean can come out with one voice to support Palestinian independence,” Dino told the Jakarta Globe in a telephone interview from Amman.

Asean has been divided on the Palestine-Israeli conflict, preventing the organization from issuing a united position to support the Palestinian cause.

Three Asean members — Thailand, Burma and Singapore — have been reluctant to voice their support for the Palestinian independence because they have good relations with Israel.

Indonesia, a Muslim-majority country, is a staunch supporter of Palestine and does not have any diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.

In his letter, Yudhoyono told Abbas that Indonesia would increase its political, economic and social ties with the Palestinian people.

In those political and diplomatic ties, Indonesia will soon establish a consulate general in Ramallah to allow for closer relations between the two nations.

Aside from granting 1,000 scholarships for Palestinian students, Indonesia will also charge all Palestinian students local tuition fees.

Indonesia will also encourage its businesses to invest in the country, boosting people-to-people contacts.

“President Abbas welcomed President Yudhoyono’s initiatives and expressed hopes that they could push for deeper ties between the two nations, with more active private-to-private relations,” Dino said.

Indonesia, he said, had supported the revival of peace talks between Palestine and Israel mediated by the United States, European Union, Russia and United Nations.

The talks have been halted since September 2010.

“We hope that the two nations can immediately return to the negotiating table to reach a two-state solution deal,” Dino said.

Abbas told Dino that he invited Muslims and Christians in Indonesia and Asia to visit Jerusalem in support of the Palestinian people living in the city regarded by both religions as a holy city.

Palestinian authorities hope to make Jerusalem their capital, an aspiration rejected by Israel.

Abbas’ call on Muslims and Christians to visit Jerusalem appeared to be connected with Sunday’s statement, accusing Israel of trying to erase any Islamic identity from Jerusalem.

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