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Indonesia condemns Israeli minister for denying Palestine's existence

Jakarta Post - March 22, 2023

A. Muh. Ibnu Aqil, Jakarta – Indonesia has issued a strong condemnation of a recent comment by Israel's right-wing finance minister Betzalel Smotrich "who denies the existence of Palestine and denounces the existence and territorial sovereignty of Jordan", the Foreign Ministry tweeted on Wednesday in the first of two posts.

In its second post, the ministry reaffirmed the country's stance: "Indonesia continues to consistently support the struggle of the Palestinian people and respect Jordan's territorial sovereignty."Abdul Kadir Jailani, the ministry's director general for Asia, Pacific and African affairs, also took to Twitter on Wednesday to express Indonesia's unwavering support for the Palestinian people, referring to the stance as a constitutional mandate.

"Indonesia remains consistent in supporting the struggle of the Palestinian people in accordance with the mandate of the [1945] Constitution. As long as [Palestinian] independence is not realized, Indonesia's support will never waver," Jailani said.

A fervent supporter of Palestinian self-determination, Indonesia has no diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

Israel's snub against Palestine and eastern neighbor Jordan comes amid growing dissatisfaction among the Indonesian public over the 2023 U-20 Soccer World Cup, which is slated to be hosted in six cities across the archipelago in May-June and includes an Israeli team.

The footage also captures Smotrich speaking on a podium adorned with a map of Israel that incorporates Jordan and the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza strip.

Smotrich's statement surfaced after a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian officials on Sunday in Egypt's resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, which discussed curbing violence ahead of Islam's holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The Jordanian government summoned late on Monday the Israeli envoy in Amman over the map, saying that Smotrich's move had violated international norms and the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty.

"These statements are provocative, racist and come from an extremist figure, and we call on the international community to condemn it," Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Tuesday, as quoted by Reuters.

Israel's foreign ministry, meanwhile, tweeted: "Israel is committed to the 1994 peace agreement with Jordan. There has been no change in the position of the State of Israel, which recognizes the territorial integrity of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan."

Separately, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that in denying the existence of the Palestinian people and their rights in their homeland, Israel's leaders "foster an environment that fuels Jewish extremism and terrorism against our people".

Western countries also lambasted Smotrich's remark, with United States National Security Council spokesman John Kirby saying the US "utterly objects" to it.

"We don't want to see any rhetoric, any action or rhetoric [...] that can stand in the way or become an obstacle to a viable two-state solution, and language like that does," Kirby said in a statement published online.

Under President Joe Biden, the US has in recent years put more pressure on Israel to adopt the two-state solution, which Israel rejects, to resolve the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But Netanyahu slipped out of an ongoing criminal corruption trial against him in 2021 to form the most right-wing Jewish government in history, threatening Mideast peace efforts.

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/world/2023/03/22/indonesia-condemns-israeli-minister-for-denying-palestines-existence.htm