Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi attends the third ministerial meeting of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (Ceapad) in Bangkok on Wednesday (27/06). (Photo courtesy of the Foreign Ministry)

Indonesia Commits $2m in Aid to Support Capacity Building in Palestine


JUNE 28, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia will provide Palestine with $2 million in aid for capacity building programs as part of the country's longstanding commitment to support the Arab nation's struggle for independence.

Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi made the announcement during a ministerial meeting of the Conference on Cooperation among East Asian Countries for Palestinian Development (Ceapad) in Bangkok on Wednesday (27/06).

The capacity building program will cater to Palestinians' needs in agriculture, entrepreneurship, women's empowerment, education and communications and information technology.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this week's Ceapad meeting resulted in a three-year work plan, which will commence in 2019.

The meeting in Bangkok was attended by officials from 11 countries, including Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Jordan, and five international organizations, including the World Bank and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Established in 2013, the Ceapad is a Japan-initiated forum for Asian countries and international organizations to coordinate and discuss effective ways to provide assistance to Palestine.

"The three-year Ceapad program specifically includes the proposed capacity building program, which will be in accordance with the needs of Palestinians and the resources or capacity of participating Ceapad countries," the statement said.

The financial aid from Indonesia will either be channeled through the Ceapad program, or other relevant programs, it added.

Indonesia has organized 169 capacity building programs for Palestine, involving almost 2,000 Palestinians. The government said it is currently preparing the provision of medicines and water desalination in Gaza.

The Southeast Asian country also offered what Minister Retno called the "3+1 Formula" for Palestinian independence.

That approach includes capacity building for the Palestine government across various sectors, creating a conducive environment for economic development, and cooperation on capacity building efforts by Ceapad and other organizations.

In addition, Retno said the international community must make a political commitment. Countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel should not move their embassies to Jerusalem and must formally recognize Palestine as an independent state.

"An independent Palestine cannot be set up in a short time; it will take a while. Indonesia's commitment to Palestinian independence will never fade; it will only expand," Retno was quoted as saying.

She added that Indonesia will prioritize the Palestinian issue during its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, which will begin in 2019.

During the Ceapad meeting, Retno also highlighted key issues hampering the Palestinian struggle for independence, including weakening commitments, a halt in the peace process and violence committed by Israeli forces.

She met with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Maliki on the sidelines of the meeting to discuss ways to move the Palestinian-Israeli peace process forward.

"Countries outside the region, especially Muslim-majority countries, must be included in the Palestine-Israeli peace process," Maliki said.