Retno Marsudi: Indonesia Stands at the Forefront of Defending Palestine

Yogyakarta, 3 June 2024─It is an unimaginable and unacceptable human tragedy. This sentence was chosen by Retno Marsudi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, to describe the atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinian people. Since October 2023, two million people have been displaced from their homes, and tens of thousands of people, including children, injured and killed. Retno conveyed this in a Public Lecture entitled “Indonesian Diplomacy for Palestine”, held by the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (Fisipol) UGM on Monday (3/6) at the UGM Senate Hall.

According to Retno, Israel is making various systematic and strategic efforts to eliminate Palestine. One of them is by spreading accusations of involvement of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugee in the Near East (UNRWA) staff, a United Nations (UN) agency, with Hamas. These allegations, although unconfirmed, have led the United States and several Western European countries to halt assistance to the UNRWA. “This weakening effort is not only carried out to worsen services for refugees but to eliminate the issue of refugees, eliminate the problem of the right to return for refugees,” stressed Retno.

The attempt to weaken the UNRWA along with a series of other events, such as the attack on the refugee camp in Rafah which was carried out just days after the issuance of an order from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for Israel to stop offensive military actions and Netanyahu’s rejection of a two-state solution, shows that the Palestinians will continue to be crushed. “Violation after violation continues to be committed by Israel. In short, the Palestinian situation will continue to get worse,” said Retno. Retno also explained that Israel was increasingly lobbying Muslim countries to start opening relations with Israel.

Responding to the actions taken by Israel against Palestine, Retno stated that Indonesia, based on the principles of universal values is committed to being at the forefront of defending justice and humanity for Palestine. Indonesia, together with other countries that are members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Contact Group, continues to convey to the Permanent Five (P5) countries that hold veto rights at the UN, that these atrocities must be stopped immediately. “We encourage a ceasefire to be realized and negotiations on a two-state solution to begin immediately and be realized,” said Retno.

“The struggle of the Palestinian people is still long. Indonesia and the international world still have a long way to go. We need the resilience and consistency to continue adhering to the principles. We need solidity, alignment with justice, peace, and humanity. We all must defend justice and humanity, as stated in the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution,” concluded Retno. The peace efforts carried out by Indonesia are also one of the realizations of the 16th point of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) relating to Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.