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‘Stop the war crimes:’ Thousands of Indonesians protest for Palestine outside US embassy

JAKARTA: Thousands of Indonesians protested outside the US Embassy in Jakarta on Sunday, calling on President Joe Biden to stop supporting Israel’s attack on Gaza, which has killed nearly 19,000 Palestinians and displaced more than 1.9 million people in the besieged enclave. 

Indonesian protesters were mostly dressed in white and black and wearing traditional Palestine scarves as they chanted “Gaza, Gaza don’t you cry, Palestine will never die” in front of the US embassy, and carrying Palestinian flags and banners reading “Stop Genocide, “Ceasefire Now,” and “Israeli genocide funded by the US.” 

The demonstration was organized by more than a dozen Islamic mass organizations, which denounced US support for Israel and its most recent veto against a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza at the UN Security Council. 

“Palestine is our spirit and soul. We oppose what is done by America and Israel. We call on (President Joe Biden and the US government) to stop the war crimes,” said Nazar Haris, from the executive committee of the Islamic mass organization council, in a speech outside the US embassy. 

A group of protesters carried mock-ups of dead Palestinian children during the rally, while others put up red-painted hands to illustrate the atrocities committed by Israeli forces. 

Protesters also demanded that the Indonesian government file a case against the Israeli leadership to the International Criminal Court and recall the Indonesian ambassador to the US to protest Washington’s support for Tel Aviv. 

“Every day, Israel shows its ignorance to the world. Today we ask countries around the world, where is your humanity? To my fellow Muslims, today we show our solidarity with Palestine. As long as Palestine is not free, Indonesia still carries a debt,” Nurjannah Hulwan, head of the KPIPA women’s coalition, said. 

Indonesia has been a staunch supporter of Palestine for decades, with its people and government seeing Palestinian statehood as mandated by the nation’s constitution, which calls for the abolition of colonialism.

“These are the people of Indonesia eagerly standing up for Palestine,” said Ahmad Heryawan, who is also from the executive committee of the Islamic mass organization council. “As long as Palestine’s independence has not been granted, we will always stand up to fight for it.” 

Another protest took place on Sunday at the National Monument complex in Jakarta, a few kilometers away from the embassy. The demonstrations are the latest of several huge protests across Indonesia since Israel began its deadly attack in October. 

The proportion of civilian deaths in Gaza, at about 61 percent in the first three weeks of Tel Aviv’s onslaught, is significantly higher compared to the average in all conflicts around the world during the 20th century, according to a study published by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. 

“Israel’s actions are not acts of war, it is genocide,” protester Ahmad Zaky Qolbuddin told Arab News. “Just like what it said in Indonesia’s 1945 Constitution, all colonialism in this world must be abolished.” 

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