Press release, 23 July 2017
In response to Al Aqsa violence and deterioration of humanitarian conditions in Gaza, Geutanyoe Foundation calls on Indonesia and Malaysia to show solidarity with Palestine and offer protection to Palestinian refugees
The Geutanyoe Foundation strongly condemns the imposition of restrictions against Palestinians to enter and worship at the Masjid Al Aqsa in Jerusalem over the past week. The imposition of restrictions has triggered clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces and has taken the lives of six people so far, three Palestians and three Israelis. We condemn the use of violence on all sides and the restrictions on the Palestinian right to practice their religion peacefully. We call for the immediate restoration of the status quo, which protects the right of Palestinians and Muslims to worship at the Al Masjid Al Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam and the site of the first ‘kiblat’ (direction of prayer). We call on the UN Security Council to take immediate diplomatic measures to not only condemn but to hold Israel accountable for its unacceptable aggression and the consequences of its inflammatory actions.
At the same time, Geutanyoe Foundation is also extremely concerned by the continuing deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. According to a new report by the United Nations published earlier this month, Gaza has become increasingly unlivable over the past 10 years since Israel imposed a siege following Hamas’ take over of the Gaza Strip in 2007. (https://unsco.unmissions.org/sites/default/files/gaza_10_years_later_-_11_july_2017.pdf).
The report revealed the steady decline in the provision of basic services including health and education, with an average of 1.4 doctors available per 1,000 people, youth unemployment rate of 60% and poor inadequate electricity supply. The report also predicted that Gaza’s sole water source will be depleted by the end 2017. While the UN report recognised the establishment of the temporary Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism (GRM) the continued restrictions of movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza has severely impacted every aspect of life in Gaza, including family unity, the health sector, trade, and construction and maintenance of basic infrastructure.
While the governments and citizens of Indonesia and Malaysia have expressed solidarity with Palestine, we wish to highlight the reality that Palestinian refugees in these countries still face denial of legal entry, deportation, detention, inadequate protection and inadequate access to affordable shelter, health services and livelihoods. A number of Palestinian refugee with valid passports and who hold UNHCR Malaysia cards have been directly affected by such policies, including a family from Gaza with two infants that was deported from Medan airport on 21 July and a youth in need of medical assistance who was deported from Banda Aceh in early March 2017, in spite of the fact that Palestinian passport holders do not require visas to enter either Indonesia or Malaysia.
Given these dire circumstances, Geutanyoe Foundation strongly urges ASEAN governments, particularly the Government of Indonesia and the Government of Malaysia, to show solidarity with Palestine by calling on the UN Security Council the OIC and other relevant international bodies to take swift action against Israeli aggression and the immediate restoration of the right of Palestinians to enter and worship at the Masjid Al Aqsa. We also call on Indonesia and Malaysia to protect Palestinian refugees, including those from Gaza, by allowing safe legal entry and protection in our countries.
For more information, please contact:
Lilianne Fan, International Director
Zafri, Media and Communications Officer