03 Januari, 2009

RI condemns Israeli air raids on Gaza Strip

Thousands of protesters stage a rally against Israeli military attacks against Palestinian in the Gaza Strip, at the Hotel Indonesia roundabout, Jakarta, on Friday. Many of the protesters were sympathizers of the Prosperous Justice Party (PKS).

Indonesia has demanded the UN issue a formal resolution to condemn Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip and urge it to end the strikes that have left more than 300 Palestinians dead.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono joined the chorus of condemnation from leaders around the world over the air attacks that began on Saturday and resulted in the bloodiest days the Palestinians have seen in more than 20 years. Yudhoyono called for immediate action from the world community and the UN to force Israel to stop the attacks.

“I have written a letter to the UN secretary-general and the UN Security Council president condemning the Israeli attacks that are unproportional and have claimed huge numbers of lives and material,” he said at a press briefing, as anti-Israel demonstrators took to the streets nationwide.

The President underlined the need for the Security Council to set up a formal meeting to issue a resolution forcing Israel to stop the attacks and urging both sides to return to peace talks as stipulated in the 2007 Annapolis agreement, which helped maintain an uneasy peace in the region over the past six months.

“I am aware the UN has held an informal meeting, producing a written statement from the Security Council president. But Indonesia wants the council to hold a formal meeting to issue a resolution to force Israel to stop the attacks,” Yudhoyono said.

Indonesia has pledged US$1 million in cash aid, with another $2 million in medical supplies.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement saying he “deplored that violence is continuing today”, and strongly urging “once again an immediate stop to all acts of violence”.

The UN Security Council issued a nonbinding statement calling for “an immediate halt to all violence” in the Gaza Strip, where the air strikes are in their third day and Israeli tanks are massing on the border.

Yudhoyono’s statement was welcomed by the House of Representatives, Islamic organizations and civil society groups across the country.

“It’s time for the UN and the world community to get tough on Israel. The attacks can no longer be tolerated,” legislator Theo Sambuaga of the House’s Commission I on foreign affairs said.
Muhammadiyah chairman Din Syamsuddin demanded the UN place sanctions on Israel, which he said had committed gross human right violations.

Suripto, a legislator and the chairman of the National Committee for Palestinian People, also urged the UN Human Rights Council to bring Israel to the International Criminal Court over the attacks.

Anti-Israel demonstrations took place across the country on Monday, with more than a thousand people rallying in Jakarta. Hard-line Islamic groups, including the Islam Defenders Front (FPI), have recruited volunteers to be sent to Palestine to fight.

“Go to hell, Israel! Israel is a terrorist!” the protesters shouted during their rally at the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle in Central Jakarta.

Suripto said up to a million people would gather on Tuesday in front of the Egyptian Embassy in Central Jakarta to demand the country open its doors to Palestinian refugees.(jktpst)

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