The newly opened Indonesian hospital in the Gaza Strip. (Photo courtesy of twitter.com/rsindonesia)

Indonesian Hospital Opens Its Doors in Gaza

BY :ALIN ALMANAR

DECEMBER 30, 2015

Jakarta. A hospital in the Gaza Strip funded entirely by donations from Indonesians has opened to the public, humanitarian workers said on Tuesday.

Rumah Sakit Indonesia, or Indonesian Hospital, began operating on Sunday, nearly five years since the idea was first conceived by the Indonesian NGO Medical Emergency Rescue Committee, or Mer-C.

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The facility can accommodate 100 people in its inpatient general ward and 10 in its intensive care unit, and in its first three days of operation has served more than 500 outpatients, according to Gheiz Chalifah, a Mer-C official.

The hospital sits on a 1.6-hectare lot in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, some three kilometers from Israeli border. Gheiz said it cost Rp 120 billion ($8.7 million) to build, with the money coming entirely from donations from the Indonesian people.

“It’s more than just a hospital; it’s a symbol of the emotional ties between the people of Indonesia and Palestine,” said Sarbini Abdul Murad, another Mer-C official.

Support for Palestinian independence has long been a key stance of Indonesia’s foreign policy, with the issue playing a prominent role earlier this year at the high-profile commemorative Asia-Africa Conference in Bandung.

President Joko Widodo has also repeatedly called for an independent Palestine.

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