Sunday, May 31, 2020

Indonesia strongly opposes Israeli annexation plan of West Bank by Fardah

Jakarta, May 31, 2020 (ANTARA) - Israel’s lust for more Arab land seems endless. They have occupied and colonized most of Palestinian land and unilaterally claimed Syria’s Golan Height, annexed Jerusalem, and now they plan to annex parts of Jordan Valley and West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of Likud’s Knesset faction on May 26 that the annexation of West Bank will begin on July 1 this year.

“We don’t intend to change it.” Netnyahu was quoted by Israeli media Haaretz, adding that “this is an opportunity that can’t be missed.”

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, has opined that Israel's plan to annex more land from the illegally occupied West Bank will bring a new calamity for Palestinians, similar to their mass exodus in 1948, known as Nakba, which is commemorated on May 15 annually.

To create the State of Israel, Zionist forces attacked major Palestinian cities, destroyed some 530 villages, and killed approximately 13,000 Palestinians in 1948, with more than 750,000 expelled from their homes and becoming refugees.

At present, the refugees and their descendants number more than seven million. Many still languish in refugee camps in neighboring Arab countries, such as Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, waiting to return to their homeland.

Nakba's 72nd anniversary has come at a time when an extreme right-wing government in Israel looks to expand its territory to the Jordan Valley.

"The annexation of Jordan Valley is an attempt to complete the catastrophe (Nakba) of 1948 and to completely liquidate the Palestinian cause," Hanan Ashrawi, prominent politician and thinker, said as reported by Aljazeera.

Ashrawi blamed the US government, saying it was a partner in crime at a time when the world was preoccupied with the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Palestine, however, is not alone in the fight against the annexation plan. A number of other countries, particularly Jordan and the European Union are leading the global opposition on the annexation plan, which is supported by US President Donald Trump. EU member states have in fact started discussing possible sanction against Israel if it annexes the West Bank.
The Indonesian government, which joins the opposition chorus, has also strongly denounced and opposed Israel's annexation plan.
“Such a plan is illegal and in grave breach of the international law, including various UN resolutions," the Indonesian Foreign Ministry said in a press statement on May 23, 2020.

The Israeli plan also threatens regional stability and security while gravely undermining all efforts to reach a lasting political solution based on a two-state solution. "Indonesia urges the international community to reject the plan".

During a virtual meeting of the United Nations Security Council on May 27, Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi urged Israel to stop its annexation plan.

The minister also contacted UN Secretary General Antnio Guterres, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, and several foreign ministers from members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), European Union (EU), and other international organizations and institutions in connection with the issue.

"In a letter (whose copies I sent to high-ranking officials from friendly countries), I mentioned that the annexation not only threatened peace and stability in the region but also dampened all efforts to find a solution to the Palestinian issue," she remarked.

Hence, the minister called on the international community to work together to uphold commitments to mutually agreed international law and agreements.

Furthermore, the minister reminded that the UN was obligated to restore Palestinian rights to its territory in accordance with the 1967 border.

The 1967 Borders or Green Line is the boundary set during a truce before Israel held a six-day offensive to areas inhabited by Palestinians, including those on the Bank West, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem.

"We cannot allow Israel to continue its annexation plan (in the West Bank)," Marsudi stated.

The minister also admitted to raising the Palestinian issue during a call she received from US Secretary of State Michael Richard Pompeo on May 27, 2020.

"I emphasize again that Indonesia's position on the Palestinian issue will not change. I hope that the US leadership will prevent Israel from carrying out its plan to continue annexation of the West Bank," Marsudi remarked during a phone conversation with Pompeo.

Indonesia, a staunch supporter of Palestine's struggle for independence, has no diplomatic ties with Israel as Indonesia's Constitution has highlighted the nation's anti-colonialism policy.

In the meantime, the United Nations' special Middle East envoy called on Israel to drop plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.

"Israel must abandon threats of annexation," Nickolay Mladenov, the UN envoy, said during the meeting of the UN Security Council.

The continuing threat of annexation by Israel would constitute a most serious violation of international law, Mladenov warned.

Aljazeera reported that the unusually direct statement came a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas announced an end to the Palestinians' security arrangements with the US and Israel, which has vowed to annex territories in the occupied West Bank.

"The Palestine Liberation Organization and the State of Palestine are absolved, as of today, of all the agreements and understandings with the American and Israeli governments and of all the obligations based on these understandings and agreements, including the security ones," Abbas said at an emergency meeting for the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah.

The Palestinians have rejected a Middle East plan by US President Donald Trump's administration that was proposed in January and that would see the annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley.

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