Monday, March 13, 2006


      Jakarta, March 13, 2006 (ANTARA) - The Palestinian people will never forget the help of Indonesia which is the staunchest supporter of the Palestinian people's struggle for a sovereign and independent state, Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Ribhi Y Awad. said.
        "We will never forget Indonesia. We very much appreciate Indonesia's strong commitment to helping and supporting the Palestinian people. We are sure that the Indonesian people and government will remain consistent with that until the Palestinian people obtain their political rights and establish an independent and sovereign state," Ambassador Awad told ANTARA here Monday.

        He said Indonesia's position was unique as the world's Muslim most populous country and the staunchest supporter of Palestine since the beginning.
        "Establishing diplomatic ties with Israel would be a great gift that they don't deserve," he said responding to ANTARA's question.
        However, he said it would be a matter of time to establish relations with Israel, only if Israel respected the rights of Palestine as a partner of peace, stopped building Jewish settlements in Palestine's land and stopped colonizing Palestine.
        "Then there would no more big barriers to normalizing relations with Israel. Of course, it will be the decision of the Indonesian Government. But, I believe that the Indonesian people as a whole, both Muslims and followers of other religions, are committed to the Palestinian people until we attain our national political rights," said Awad, who has been holding his post in Jakarta since the last 15 years.

        "The Indonesian people have a wise and great President. Under the present leadership, I believe Indonesia will continue its commitment to the Palestinian people. President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is a patriot and nationalist, and he is committed to the interests of the Indonesian people. I wish him all the best," said Awad, who will conclude his term of office in Indonesia soon.

        He said that without the help of the Indonesian government and people, the Palestinian embassy would have been closed 12 years ago, when the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) declared bankruptcy, and decided to close down 26 embassies in Asian and African countries.

        "But, the Indonesian Government under the leadership of the then President Soeharto at that time decided to help us and maintain the embassy in Jakarta remain open. Indonesia's help and support was engraved on our heart and mind forever," Awad stated.

        According to him, since the leaderships of Soeharto until Yudhono, Indonesia has been supporting Palestine in various international conferences such as in the United Nations, the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement.

        On a possible murder of Palestine's designated Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh by Israel, he said that it could happen as Israel had killed several Palestinian leaders before.

        "It will prove that Israel does not want peace, since such an assassination will trigger a vicious of violences including suicide bombings," he said. (t/f001/A/HAJM/15:00/A018)

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