Thursday, 24 January 2019 | 14:17 WIB

Palestinian Community Condemns Yahya Staquf Visit to Israel

Yahya Cholil Staquf during an interview on Israel's AJC Forum.

JAKARTA, NNC - The Palestinian Community in Indonesia (PCI) deplores the visit of President Advisory Council member Yahya Cholil Staquf to Israel at the invitation of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR) on June 10-13, 2018.

The Head of the Palestinian Community in Indonesia Murad Halayqa stated that the visit was a big disappointment for the Palestinian people, especially since Yahya is a religious figure and an Indonesian official, a country that has been respected by the Palestinian community for always supporting the struggle for Palestinian independence.

"The Palestinian community in Indonesia condemns and regrets this visit, even though Mr. Staquf expressed his departure personally, but he is a religious figure and Indonesian official and this step was taken at an inappropriate time," said Murad Halayqa in an official statement received in Jakarta, Wednesday (6/13/2018).

Yahya Cholil Staquf, who is a figure from Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), visited Israel at the invitation of the Israel Council on Foreign Relations to be one of the speakers at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in Jerusalem.

Halayqa regretted the visit because US President Donald Trump had just moved the American Embassy to Jerusalem, a region still in dispute between Palestine and Israel.

The PCI considers the visit has implied support for Israel and America who claim Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

In addition, Israel continues to exert pressure and violence on hundreds of Palestinian protesters who have conducted "Great March of Return" in Gaza since last March.

"We consider the statement submitted by Mr. Staquf that his visit to support the Palestinians as misleading and manipulating words as support for the Palestinian people must pass through the gate of Palestinian leadership in Ramallah, not through Israel who occupies the land of Palestine and tortures and are cruel to the people of Palestine," Halayqa said as quoted by Antara.

Halayqa added that PCI rejected the reason given by Yahya Cholil Staquf that his visit to Jerusalem was one of the steps for the late Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur's vision to support the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

"Mr. Staquf speaking about the legacy and the vision of the late President Abdurrahman Wahid to support the peace process to justify his visit is unacceptable because President Abdurrahman Wahid tried to play a role in the peace process during his time 1999-2001 with the approval of the Palestinian leadership at the time and there was still an umbrella international for the peace process," he said.

Meanwhile during Yahya Cholil's visit on June 10, the United States which should have been the motor of peace has sided with Israel by moving its embassy to Jerusalem, and Israel is still continuing the annexation of Palestinian territory.