Jakarta: Indonesians began on Wednesday to observe Palestine Solidarity Month to show they “will always stand with Palestinians” and will intensify their efforts in the wake of Israel’s deadly attacks on civilians in Gaza.
Indonesia has been a staunch supporter of Palestine for decades, with its people and authorities seeing Palestinian statehood as mandated by their own constitution, which calls for the abolition of colonialism.
The Southeast Asian nation has no diplomatic relations with Israel, and the Indonesian government has repeatedly called for an end to the occupation of Palestinian territories and for a two-state solution based on pre-1967 borders.
Palestine Solidarity Month has been organized by the Aqsa Working Group, an Indonesian advocacy group, since 2022.
“Palestine Solidarity Month is a moment to prove that the Indonesian people are always with the Palestinian people, in every circumstance, especially in the current situation of the war on Gaza,” Rifa Berliana Arifin, AWG’s chair for Palestine Solidarity Month, said during the launch of this year’s observance.
“The purpose of solidarity, displayed by Indonesians and others around the world, shows that Israel is an invader and the (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu’s government is a barbaric administration.”
The beginning of the month-long events this year takes place as Israeli forces have been scaling up their assault on Palestinian civilians in retaliation for a surprise attack by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas on Oct. 7.
In the past three weeks, Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 8,500 people in Gaza and injured tens of thousands more.
According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, 66 percent of the dead are children and women.
“AWG is calling for a ceasefire. But even more than that, AWG is demanding a stop to the Zionist occupation of Palestine because that is the root of the problem,” Muhammad Anshorullah, a member of AWG’s executive committee, told Arab News.
“As long as Zionist Israel is colonizing it, there will be no true peace in Palestine.”
AWG is organizing this year’s Palestine solidarity month under the auspices of the Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee of the Indonesian House of Representatives, alongside the Indonesian Ulema Council — the country’s highest Muslim clerical body — and pro-Palestine NGOs across the country.
“We hope that with this year’s Palestine Solidarity Month, Indonesia’s position will become even stronger in opposing Israel’s occupation of Palestine,” Anshorullah said.
“Solidarity expressed by as many people as possible carries an incredibly important value for supporting the struggle of Palestinians.”
Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo took to social media on Monday to condemn Israeli attacks and said that Indonesia would begin to send humanitarian assistance to Gaza this week.
“Indonesia’s position is clear and firm, (we) condemn the indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian facilities in Gaza,” he said. “This violence must stop immediately.”