Israel refuses Indonesian FM access to the West Bank

Published March 14th, 2016 - 06:00 GMT
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. (AFP/File)
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. (AFP/File)

Israel has blocked Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi’s entry into the occupied West Bank, where she was set to hold talks with Palestinian leaders, the Palestinian Foreign Ministry says.

The Palestinian ministry said in a statement on Sunday that Israel refused to allow Marsudi to visit the the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, where she planned to meet with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas and her counterpart Riyad al-Malki.

The top Indonesian diplomat also planned to open an honorary consular office in the Palestinian city, the ministry noted.

According to the statement, Marsudi and a high-level accompanying delegation will instead meet Malki in neighboring Jordan.

Reports by Israeli media said that the Indonesian foreign minister was refused access to Ramallah after declining to meet with Israeli officials. Israel and Indonesia do not have formal diplomatic ties.

This come as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) recently called for a global ban on products from illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The global body made its request during the 5th Extraordinary OIC Summit on Palestine and Al-Quds al-Sharif in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, which was attended by representatives from 57 countries, including Abbas.

The OIC urged “member states and the wider international community to ban products produced in or by illegal Israeli settlements from their markets.”

More than half a million Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem (al-Quds). The Israeli settlements are regarded as unlawful by the United Nations and most countries.

The developments also come as the occupied Palestinian territories have been the scene of heightened tensions triggered by Israel’s imposition in August 2015 of restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.

Nearly 200 Palestinians, including women and children, have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.


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