In­done­sia slams US de­ci­sion on Jerusalem

The Jakarta Post - - FRONT PAGE - An­ton Her­man­syah and In­dra Bu­di­ari

Jokowi asks Trump to re­con­sider de­ci­sion on Jerusalem as Is­raeli cap­i­tal RI Pres­i­dent to at­tend spe­cial OIC sum­mit next week in Is­tan­bul

In­done­sia has con­demned United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion on the cap­i­tal of Israel and is call­ing for ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ings of both the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Is­lamic Co­op­er­a­tion (OIC) and the United Nations.

“In­done­sia strongly de­nounces the US’ uni­lat­eral recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as Israel’s cap­i­tal and is ask­ing the US to re­con­sider the de­ci­sion,” Pres­i­dent Joko “Jokowi” Wi­dodo said at the Bogor Palace in West Java on Thurs­day.

On Wed­nes­day, Trump re­versed decades of US pol­icy to rec­og­nize Jerusalem as the Is­raeli cap­i­tal and or­dered plan­ning to be­gin on mov­ing the US Em­bassy from Tel Aviv.

Ear­lier in the morn­ing, For­eign Min­is­ter Retno LP Mar­sudi con­demned Trump’s de­ci­sion, say­ing that as a demo­cratic coun­try “the US should know what democ­racy means.” Speak­ing while open­ing the Bali Democ­racy Fo­rum (BDF), Retno said democ­racy meant re­spect­ing in­ter­na­tional laws. while the recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem and the plan to re­lo­cate the US em­bassy did not re­spect var­i­ous UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions.

Jokowi also said the uni­lat­eral recog­ni­tion had vi­o­lated Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions con­cern­ing the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict, some of which are about the oc­cu­pa­tion of East Jerusalem and the con­fis­ca­tion of Land. Res­o­lu­tion 252 of 1968 asks Israel to can­cel all ac­tiv­i­ties in Jerusalem and con­demns the mil­i­tary oc­cu­pa­tion. Res­o­lu­tion 298 of 1971 con­firms that all ac­tions taken by Israel to change Jerusalem’s sta­tus are il­le­gal. Res­o­lu­tion 478 of 1980 strongly con­demns Israel’s en­act­ment of a law to change the sta­tus of Jerusalem.

Jokowi added that In­done­sia had called on the OIC and UN to or­ga­nize ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ings and the OIC is to con­vene in Is­tan­bul on Dec. 13.

“The OIC has de­cided to hold a meet­ing in Is­tan­bul, Tur­key. I will at­tend the meet­ing,” he said.

Jokowi added that In­done­sia re­mained com­mit­ted to help­ing “the Pales­tinian peo­ple strug­gle for their in­de­pen­dence as stip­u­lated by the pre­am­ble of the 1945 Con­sti­tu­tion.” Asked if In­done­sia would with­draw its am­bas­sador, Budi Bowolek­sono, from Wash­ing­ton, Jokowi said: “It will be fol­lowed up by the For­eign Min­istry.”

Jokowi also said he had or­dered Retno to sum­mon US Am­bas­sador Joseph Dono­van to re­lay In­done­sia’s po­si­tion on the sit­u­a­tion.

A diplo­matic hic­cup oc­curred on Thurs­day when a state­ment is­sued in In­done­sian by the US Em­bassy said that “the US Em­bassy had con­sulted with US al­lies and part­ners, in­clud­ing In­done­sia,” im­ply­ing that Retno was in­formed of the de­ci­sion be­fore Trump pub­licly rec­og­nized Jerusalem as the Is­raeli cap­i­tal, which was un­der­stood to mean In­done­sia agreed with it.

This caught Retno off guard and she de­manded clar­i­fi­ca­tion by sum­mon­ing Dono­van to Tangerang, where she was at­tend­ing the BDF.

“I would also like to clar­ify a mis­un­der­stand­ing on the con­tra­dic­tion be­tween the English state­ment and its trans­la­tion into In­done­sian on our web­site,” Dono­van told re­porters. “The English state­ment is the ac­cu­rate one [...] and I re­gret the state­ment in Ba­hasa In­done­sia is in­ac­cu­rate. I clar­ify that For­eign Min­is­ter Retno Mar­sudi was not aware of Pres­i­dent Trump’s de­ci­sion be­fore it was de­cided.”

In Brus­sels, the Euro­pean Union’s top diplo­mat pledged on Thurs­day to rein­vig­o­rate diplo­macy with Rus­sia, the US, Jor­dan and oth­ers to en­sure Pales­tini­ans can es­tab­lish their own cap­i­tal in Jerusalem. The EU, a mem­ber of the Mid­dle East Quar­tet along with the US, the UN and Rus­sia, says it has to make its voice heard as the Pales­tini­ans’ big­gest aid donor and Israel’s top trade part­ner.

“The Euro­pean Union has a clear and united po­si­tion. We be­lieve the only re­al­is­tic so­lu­tion to the con­flict be­tween Israel and Pales­tine is based on two states and with Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of both,” EU for­eign pol­icy chief Fed­er­ica Mogherini told a news con­fer­ence as re­ported by Reuters.

She said she would meet Jor­dan’s for­eign min­is­ter on Fri­day, while she and EU for­eign min­is­ters would dis­cuss Jerusalem with Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu in Brus­sels on Mon­day.

In Ankara, Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim said the US had primed a bomb in the Mid­dle East with its recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem.

“The United States has pulled the pin on a bomb ready to blow in the re­gion,” Yildirim told a con­fer­ence as quoted by Reuters.

Al­ready, 17 peo­ple were wounded by Is­raeli army gun­fire, medics said, when Pales­tinian protests erupted in the oc­cu­pied West Bank and the Gaza Strip af­ter Trump’s an­nounce­ment.

The 10th an­nual Bali Democ­racy Fo­rum (BDF) wrapped up on Thurs­day evening with del­e­ga­tions from 106 coun­tries and in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions concluding that democ­racy played an im­por­tant role in bring­ing pros­per­ity to peo­ple and pro­vid­ing so­cial jus­tice.

Un­der the theme of “Does Democ­racy De­liver?” state lead­ers, min­is­ters and other of­fi­cials from demo­cratic coun­tries shared how the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem had helped them en­sure greater par­tic­i­pa­tion of cit­i­zens in the de­ci­sion­mak­ing process.

It has also helped coun­tries that had just es­caped from the dark shadow of colo­nial­ism to build their economies.

For in­stance, ac­cord­ing to Suri­name Man­power Min­is­ter Soe­warto Moes­tadja, his coun­try re­lied on a demo­cratic sys­tem to re­build it­self brick by brick af­ter it left the Nether­lands to be­come an in­de­pen­dent state in 1975. Although the sys­tem faced a se­ri­ous chal­lenge when the mil­i­tary took over the gov­ern­ment in the 1980s, Suri­name re­turned to democ­racy years later.

Moes­tadja said that since Suri­name trans­formed into an in­de­pen­dent coun­try, the gov­ern­ment faced chal­lenges unit­ing peo­ple with var­i­ous eth­nic back­grounds, in­clud­ing Asians and Africans.

“How­ever, un­til to­day, with a demo­cratic sys­tem we are in the process of mak­ing our unity in diver­sity into a re­al­ity,” Moes­tadja told hun­dreds of del­e­gates to the BDF, which was held at the In­done­sia Con­ven­tion Ex­hi­bi­tion in Tangerang, Ban­ten.

This year was the first time the BDF was held out­side of Bali. The In­done­sian For­eign Min­istry moved the event from its usual place in Bali fol­low­ing the erup­tion of Mount Agung, which forced the tem­po­rary clo­sure of Ngu­rah Rai In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The event was also over­shad­owed by United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pub­lic recog­ni­tion of Jerusalem as the Is­raeli cap­i­tal and his plan to move the US em­bassy from Tel Aviv.

For­eign Min­is­ter Retno Mar­sudi wore a Pales­tinian kaf­fiyeh as a scarf to show sol­i­dar­ity with the Pales­tini­ans when open­ing the BDF.

A re­cent study by the US-based Pew Re­search Cen­ter sug­gested that democ­racy is on a ris­ing trend. The study found that by the end of 2016, 97 of 167 coun­tries, 58 per­cent, with pop­u­la­tions of at least 500,000 ap­plied demo­cratic sys­tems in their gov­ern­ments and only 21, 13 per­cent, were au­toc­ra­cies.

It was a sub­stan­tial in­crease from 1977 when only 35 of 143 coun­tries, 24 per­cent, qual­i­fied as democ­ra­cies.

Mean­while, Min­is­ter for Po­lit­i­cal and Par­lia­men­tary Af­fairs Musa Habes Maay­tah of Jor­dan, which held its first elec­tions for leg­isla­tive coun­cils in 1992, said he be­lieves that democ­racy is a nec­es­sary con­di­tion for build­ing a mod­ern civil state.

How­ever, Maay­tah said that democ­racy alone would not be enough as the big­gest chal­lenge for a coun­try was to achieve wel­fare and meet cit­i­zens’ needs for ed­u­ca­tion, health and equal op­por­tu­ni­ties. He said that Jor­dan was also af­fected by the war on ter­ror­ism and rad­i­cal­iza­tion in the Mid­dle East, as well as waves of asy­lum seek­ers and refugees. He said the coun­try hosts 1.3 mil­lion Syr­ian refugees.

“But we keep believ­ing there is no al­ter­na­tive to democ­racy, which is the only means that hu­man­ity has to im­prove peo­ple’s lives,” he said dur­ing a min­is­te­rial panel ses­sion.

Also tak­ing part in the BDF were 100 stu­dents from 62 coun­tries who con­vened a con­fer­ence that pro­vided them with an op­por­tu­nity to share their views on democ­racy.

Vice Pres­i­dent Jusuf Kalla in his open­ing state­ment said that In­done­sia was an ex­am­ple of how democ­racy could bring con­crete ben­e­fits of pros­per­ity and peace to peo­ple.

“In­done­sia has cho­sen democ­racy as the way of state­hood and firmly be­lieves that it is the best choice,” he said

In the chair­man’s state­ment at the end of the event, For­eign Deputy Min­is­ter AM Fachir said that among the points raised in the event was that the ba­sic re­quire­ments for a fully func­tion­ing democ­racy in­cluded sep­a­ra­tion of power, sub­stan­tive elec­tions and ac­tive civil so­ci­ety.

He added that democ­racy’s cur­rent chal­lenges in­cluded ter­ror­ism and pop­ulism, which re­quired in­ten­sive co­op­er­a­tion and el­e­ments of se­cu­rity, equal­ity and so­cial jus­tice.

“Democ­racy is an evolv­ing process that needs the com­mit­ment and de­ter­mi­na­tion of the peo­ple. So does democ­racy de­liver? Yes, it de­liv­ers na­tion­ally, re­gion­ally and glob­ally,” he said.

Del­e­ga­tions agree democ­racy still best way to gov­ern coun­tries in ev­ery­one’s in­ter­est De­moc­ra­ti­za­tion re­quires pub­lic com­mit­ment and de­ter­mi­na­tion

Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

Es­ca­la­tion: Pales­tini­ans protest against United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s de­ci­sion to rec­og­nize Jerusalem as the cap­i­tal of Israel in Khan Yu­nis on the south­ern Gaza Strip on Thurs­day.

An­tara/Muham­mad Iqbal

ICE fo­rum: Vice Pres­i­dent Jusuf Kalla (third left) strikes a bam­boo gong, along with For­eign Min­is­ter Retno LP Mar­sudi (left), Pres­i­dent of the Re­pub­lic of Nauru Honor­able Baron Di­vavesi Waqa (sec­ond left), Tu­nisia For­eign Min­is­ter Khe­maies Jhi­naoul (fourth left), In­done­sian en­voy for the Mid­dle East Alwi Shi­hab (cen­ter) and for­mer for­eign min­is­ter Has­san Wi­rad­juda (fourth right) to mark the open­ing of the 10th Bali Democ­racy Fo­rum at the In­done­sia Con­ven­tion Ex­hi­bi­tion (ICE) in Ser­pong, South Tangerang, on Thurs­day.

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