Saturday, July 4, 2020

Global community's growing chorus against Israel's annexation plan by Fardah

Jakarta, July 4, 2020 (ANTARA) - Israel did not proceed with its planned July-1 annexation of parts of West Bank and Jordan Valley, Palestine, amid fierce rejection by the international community, including its closest allies: the Great Britain, Australia, and Germany.

Vociferous oppositions also arose from the European Union (EU), Arab nations, and Asian countries, including Indonesia, which have been appealing to the international community to reject the plan since the start.

Palestine too has unitedly voiced its rejection of the plan. Both Hamas and Fatah have condemned Israel for attempting to grab more Palestinian land.

International organizations, including the UN, the Arab League, and the OIC, have also called on Israel to abandon settlement plans that run counter to the international laws and UN resolutions. Dozens of UN experts were apprehensive that the proposed annexation plan would create a “21st century apartheid”.

Indonesia, a staunch and consistent supporter of Palestine’s struggle for independence, has proactively kept up the pressure against Israel’s annexation plan through various international forums.

Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi sent letters to dozens of governments worldwide to garner support for the rejection of the plan on May 27, 2020.

“I have received positive responses from many countries, including South Africa, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, China, Japan, Russia, Tunisia, Vietnam, Egypt, Jordan, Ireland, and France, as well as from the UN secretary general and the OIC secretary general,” the minister stated in Jakarta on July 2, 2020.

Those countries mostly voiced their support to Indonesia’s initiative to urge the international community to prevent and reject the annexation plan. Moreover, they voiced the need to pursue a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A common concern is that the annexation would threaten regional and global stability while also impairing the effective mitigation efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier, Indonesia, along with Tunisia and South Africa, had initiated a ministerial-level meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to deliberate on Israel’s unilateral plan to annex Palestine.

At a virtual open meeting of the UNSC on June 24, Marsudi had drawn attention to the serious repercussions of the Israeli plan on the future of Palestinian people, who have, since long, faced injustice and reeled from human right violations.

"The choice lies in our hands, whether to side with the international law or to close your eyes and be on the other side that allows actions that run counter to international law?" Marsudi pointed out.

At a meeting chaired by France that holds the UNSC presidency for this month, the minister cited three reasons for the international community to reject the annexation plan.

First, Israel's formal plan to annex Palestinian territories is a violation of the international law. Allowing annexation will irrefutably set a precedent in which territorial control by annexation is a legal act in the international law.

To this end, the Indonesian foreign minister has encouraged all parties partaking in various international forums to reject decisively, through statements and concrete actions, that annexation is illegal.

Second, Israel's formal annexation plan is a test of UNSC's credibility and legitimacy in the eyes of the world. The UNSC must be prompt in taking steps in accordance with the UN Charter.

"Anyone who threatens international peace and security must be held accountable before the UN Security Council. There should be no double standards," she emphasized.

Third, annexation will spell the end of the long-stalled peace process while also creating instability in the region and the world.

"Injustice occurs not because of the absence of justice itself. Injustice occurs because we allow it to happen. This is the time to stop injustice," Marsudi stressed while closing her speech before the UNSC.

In addition to the government, the Indonesian Parliament has strongly condemned the annexation plan and mobilized global support for Palestine.

The Indonesian House of Representatives (DPR RI) has initiated a joint statement of parliamentarians from across the globe to reject Israel's annexation of Palestinian territories.

The joint statement is signed by over 200 members of parliament from 34 countries. This joint statement was launched on the occasion of International Day of Parliamentarism that fell on June 30, 2020.

“In the Joint Statement, parliamentarians around the world express their strong condemnation and rejection of Israel's annexation plan for the Palestinian territories that violates international law and the global rule-based international order," Dr. Fadli Zon, chair of the Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation of the DPR, stated.

The joint statement calls on Israel to halt all illegal activities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, as "occupying parties", Israel is responsible for protecting the safety and security of the Palestinian people, according to the statement.

The joint statement also underscores the solidarity and commitment of world parliamentarians to the Palestinian people, including their right to self-determination.

​The Joint Statement of world MPs emphasized the call to the international community to remain firm in its commitment to protect the two-state solution and concerns over the annexation plan during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Furthermore, House of Representatives' Commission I Deputy Chairman, Abdul Kharis Almasyari, affirmed that the House's Commission I had adopted a firm stance against the proposed West Bank annexation and rejected efforts constituting Israeli occupation of Palestine.

"In line with this, the Commission I requests the Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to optimize diplomacy bilaterally and multilaterally to jointly engage the global community, with a real rejection of efforts to seize the West Bank region and voice the Palestinian struggle for freedom, humanity, justice, and rights to return to their ancestral lands," he stressed.

Almasyari called on the United Nations, organizations, and the international community to intervene in the crisis situation in Palestine by prioritizing humanitarian measures for the protection of Palestinian civilians, who were victims of a deteriorating humanitarian situation, including those arrested, tortured, and also murdered by Israeli authorities.

"The world’s failure to respond to the threat of Israeli annexation of the West Bank is a serious threat to the pattern of international relations and will only provide a loophole for many other countries to seize/ annex, with territorial claims that disregard the principles of international law," he reiterated.

Another Indonesian legislator, Jazuli Juwaini, chairman of the PKS Faction at the House of Representatives (DPR), vehemently denounced Israel's plan.

"The annexation plan is clearly inhumane amid the COVID-19 pandemic when the condition of Palestinian people in refugee camps is a matter of serious concern," Juwaini stated.

Juwaini fully supported the stance of Indonesian Foreign Minister Marsudi, who firmly rejected and opposed the annexation plan during a speech at the UN Security Council Open Session on June 24, 2020.

"The nation and state of Indonesia have always been on the Palestinian side at any time as long as Palestinians still face injustice, human rights violations, and a dire humanitarian situation owing to Israeli barbaric acts for decades," he remarked.

Juwaini has called upon nations globally to not disregard human rights violations and international humanitarian law breaches by Israel.

Jazuli, simultaneously the World Muslim Parliamentary Forum (IIFP) vice president, called for concrete international steps to put an end to Israeli barbarity.

"It is not enough to just criticize. Resolutions are not sufficient. It takes concrete steps by countries in the world to fight Israel's arrogance," he affirmed.

The lawmaker opined that the credibility of world bodies, such as the United Nations, is at stake by allowing Israel to continue with its inhumane actions.

In the meantime, Michelle Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, averred that the annexation of Palestinian land was illegal and urged Israel to not chart a perilous path that will create shockwaves lasting decades.

“Annexation is illegal. Period. Any annexation, regardless of whether it is 30 percent of the West Bank or five percent,” she noted in a statement.

Bachelet emphasized that the plan would be disastrous for Palestinians and impair efforts to bring peace to the region.

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