Wednesday, October 24, 2007


      Jakarta, Oct. 24, 2007 (ANTARA) - If the Israeli occupation of Palestine can be resolved, Israel will be accepted and can have full diplomatic relations with some 57 Muslim countries, Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia Fariz Mehdawi said.
        "The Palestinian issue is the concern of the entire world. For instance, what's wrong between Israel and Indonesia? Nothing. So, after the Palestinian issue has been resolved, there will be nothing wrong if Indonesia establishes relations with Israel. The same goes for Malaysia and other countries," Ambassador Mehdawi said here following Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's visit in Indonesia from Oct. 21 to 23, 2007.

     The ambassador said a few of the 57 countries grouped in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), such as Egypt and Jordan, had treaties with Israel that forced them to have ties with the Jewish state.
     Under its treaty with Israel, Egypt was forced to have diplomatic relations with Israel and in return got back Sinai which had been occupied by Israel, and Jordan in a similar way recovered a part of its territories from Israel, he said.
      The Palestinian issue was the concern of the entire world especially those opposing Israeli occupation, he said.
      Therefore, Palestine was pushing for the participation of more countries, particularly three large predominantly Muslim nations, namely Indonesia, Malaysia and Turkey, in the planned international conference on Israel and Palestine to be hosted by US President George W Bush in Annapolis, Maryland, the United States, at the end of this year, he said.
        "Our best interest is to enlarge the conference. Why? Because we want the commitment of the world, not only the commitment of two or three countries," Ambassador Mehdawi said.
       According to the ambassador, around 36 countries might take part in the conference, which would include the Quartet (the US, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations), the G-8, members of the UN Security Council, the Arab League, and African countries.
        Other countries that expressed interest in participating in the conference were Brazil, India and Mexico, he said.
        "Indonesia is also willing to join the meeting once we know that it is well prepared for it. That's why keep Indonesia well informed, while we are negotiating with Israel in preparing the documents. We need to brief our Indonesian brothers on a daily basis about our negotiations," he said.
        He said the Terms of Reference of the conference included a two-state solution, Jerusalem as the capital, and water resources. Ambassador Mehdawi said that the conference needed to set a time frame of around six months for the implementation of its results. However, Israel still objected to the time-frame setting.
        Mehdawi said the possibility of having full diplomatic recognation by many Muslim countries should be a motive for Israel to consider. (T.F001/A/HAJM/B/S012) 17:05/

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