Indonesia slams US decision on Jerusalem
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
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.
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.