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Indonesia 'Deeply Concerned' Over Violence Between Israel, Palestinians

Fire and smoke rise following an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Oct. 8, 2023.
Fire and smoke rise following an Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, Oct. 8, 2023.

Indonesia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has released a statement expressing concern about the escalating conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.

“Indonesia is deeply concerned with the escalation of conflict between Palestine and Israel. Indonesia urges the immediate end of violence to avoid further human casualties,” said the statement published on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Without naming Hamas as the attacker, the ministry said in a separate tweet, “The root of the conflict, namely the occupation of the Palestinian territories by Israel, must be resolved, in accordance with the parameters agreed upon by the U.N.”

With the biggest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia is a loyal supporter of Palestinian statehood based on a constitutional mandate to eradicate colonialism. President Joko Widodo reaffirmed his commitment to the Palestinian territories when Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh visited Jakarta last October 2022. In his statement, Widodo said that three facets of Indonesia’s support to Palestinians are diplomacy, trade, and humanitarian assistance.

Indonesia built a hospital in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, in 2011, from money donated by Indonesians. One local staff member in that hospital was reported killed in an Israeli counterattack in the area on Saturday. MER-C, a medical and humanitarian non-governmental organization, said in a written statement that Abu Romzi, who had worked as MER-C’s local staff in Gaza since 2011, was killed in an airstrike.

"We were in Dr. Joserizal Jurnalis' guesthouse when suddenly there was a strong explosion. It turned out that rocket fire from Israeli warplanes fell very close to our location and destroyed MER-C's operational car in front of the guesthouse," said Farid, another local staff in Gaza.

He added, "Abu Romzi, a local MER-C staff who was near the ambulance, became a martyr and was rushed to the Indonesian hospital."

The attack also damaged volunteer residences in the Indonesian hospital area.

MER-C chief Sarbini Abdul Murad, in a statement released on Saturday, said, “We condemn the Israeli air strikes in Gaza that targeted hospitals.” MER-C urged the Indonesian government to ask the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency session to address the Israeli bombardments which reportedly killed almost 200 Palestinians.

MER-C did not mention any HAMAS attack against Israel.

VOA's Indonesian Service contributed to this report.