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Indonesian President Joko Widodo heads to US amid Gaza tensions | Politics Information

Medan, Indonesia – Indonesian President Joko Widodo is in america this week for a summit with President Joe Biden on the White Home, and later to attend the thirtieth Asia-Pacific Financial Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, amid the persevering with Israel-Gaza conflict.

The go to has prompted questions on whether or not Widodo, popularly referred to as Jokowi, will name for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The problem is especially heated because the Indonesia Hospital, positioned in north Gaza, has been encircled by Israeli forces.

The hospital was inbuilt 2011 with donations from Indonesian residents and organisations, together with the Indonesian Pink Cross Society and the Muhammadiyah Society, considered one of Indonesia’s largest Muslim organisations. It was formally inaugurated in 2016 by the then-Indonesian vice chairman, Jusuf Kalla.

Three Indonesian volunteers with the Indonesian humanitarian organisation the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C), which organised the donations to construct the hospital, are at the moment based mostly in north Gaza.

Nevertheless, regardless of the grim state of affairs within the besieged enclave, consultants informed Al Jazeera that Widodo was doubtless to make use of the go to to the White Home to debate a variety of points.

“He’ll doubtless talk about a number of issues associated to funding and commerce, particularly associated to the relocation of the capital and demanding minerals equivalent to nickel, downstreaming and the manufacturing of electrical automobiles in Indonesia,” mentioned Ahmad Rizky M Umar, an affiliate lecturer on the College of Queensland.

Joko Widodo examining aid meant for Gaza at the airport. The aid is on pallets and ready to be lifted into the plane. Widodo is accompanied by his foreign minister
Indonesia despatched humanitarian help to Palestinians in Gaza earlier this month [Bay Ismoyo/AFP]

Commerce and funding

As an outgoing president whose second, and ultimate, time period in workplace will finish subsequent yr, Widodo is prone to be involved with securing his legacy and shoring up present initiatives already within the works, equivalent to plans to relocate 1.5 million of Jakarta’s 11 million residents to East Kalimantan beneath the brand new capital metropolis venture estimated to price some $32bn.

Umar added that Widodo would in all probability additionally talk about Indonesia’s membership of the Organisation for Financial Co-operation and Improvement (OECD), which could make it extra enticing to traders given the organisation’s dedication to finest practices, as Southeast Asia’s largest financial system appears to lure extra US entrepreneurs.

“He can even in all probability talk about the elevation of bilateral cooperation between Indonesia and america right into a ‘complete strategic partnership’,” Umar mentioned.

In accordance with the White Home, the theme for this yr’s APEC is “Making a Resilient and Sustainable Future for All” with the intention of constructing “an interconnected, revolutionary and inclusive” area and advancing “a free, honest and open financial coverage agenda that advantages US employees, companies and households”.

APEC was established in 1989 and has 21 members together with Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, america and Vietnam, comprising almost 3 billion folks and contributing 62 % to the world’s gross home product (GDP), whereas controlling virtually half of all world commerce.

Indonesia itself can be a serious rising financial system which some estimate may rank within the high 5 economies globally by the center of the century.

Yohanes Sulaiman, a lecturer in worldwide relations at Universitas Jenderal Achmad Yani in Bandung, informed Al Jazeera that, whereas Widodo may point out Palestine, it will not be the principle matter of dialog.

The US has backed Israel since Hamas launched a shock wave of assaults on October 7 killing at the very least 1,200 folks and taking at the very least 200 extra captive.

After the assault, Israel declared conflict on Hamas and has subjected Gaza, house to some 2.3 million folks, to relentless bombardment.

Greater than 11,000 folks have been killed.

“I feel he’ll give attention to the financial system and wider Indonesian relations with america. He’s not the type of chief who will get on his soapbox with America. He’ll need to make it possible for relations with america are working easily,” he mentioned.

“He will likely be targeted on what Indonesia can achieve from the go to and never spend an excessive amount of time on different points. It is going to be a transactional assembly.”

An open letter to Widodo

Nevertheless, a lot as Widodo might need to give attention to financial issues, the thorny problem of the Indonesia Hospital is prone to be troublesome to disregard.

“I think he’ll speak about Palestine, particularly concerning humanitarian assist and a ceasefire, as a result of Israel itself has accused the Indonesia Hospital of being a Hamas hideout,” College of Queensland lecturer Umar mentioned.

Final week, Israel accused the Indonesia Hospital of harbouring Hamas fighters in tunnels beneath the constructing.

Indonesia’s overseas ministry rejected the allegations, saying that the Indonesia Hospital was to “absolutely” serve Palestinians.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation with 207 million of its 270 million folks following Islam. The nation doesn’t have formal diplomatic relations with Israel and there’s no Israeli embassy in Indonesia.

Indonesian residents and the federal government have lengthy been seen as sympathetic to the Palestinian trigger – lots of of hundreds have taken to the streets of Jakarta in current weeks to name for a ceasefire – however there have been periodic makes an attempt to thaw relations with Israel, together with beneath former President Abdurrahman Wahid.

On November 11, MER-C issued an open letter to Widodo, calling on him to make use of his go to to the White Home to “save the Indonesia Hospital”.

“In the present day marks the thirty sixth day of the world witnessing indiscriminate aggression, homicide, and mass slaughter of civilians within the Gaza Strip, nearly all of whom are girls and youngsters […] all hospitals within the Gaza Strip, have fallen sufferer to the brutality of the Israeli army,” the letter mentioned.

It added that the Indonesia Hospital was making an attempt to function amid complete darkness and a scarcity of medicines.

MER-C continued that it hoped that Widodo would increase the difficulty of the hospital throughout his assembly with Biden, and “exert stress on the world, particularly america, to right away provoke a ceasefire within the Gaza Strip and save the Indonesia Hospital from Israeli assaults”.

“Will the world and our Indonesian nation proceed to stay silent within the face of this?” the letter mentioned.

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