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  • Illustrative photo of a protester holding up a Palestinian flag.

    Illustrative photo of a protester holding up a Palestinian flag. | Photo: AFP

Published 7 March 2016
Opinion

The Indonesian leader told his guests from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation that Muslim countries must unite on Palestine.

Nations of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation must be part of the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict otherwise it risked being “irrelevant,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo said Monday at the organization's summit in the Indonesian capital.

"The OIC should be part of the solution, and not part of the problem," Widodo said in his opening speech of the summit. "If the OIC cannot be part of the solution to Palestine, then the OIC becomes irrelevant."

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The event in Jakarta was convened under the theme of “United for a Just Solution,” referring to the need for an urgent solution in Palestine and Jerusalem. President Widodo further criticized Israel's "unilateral and illegal policies."

Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi said her country, which is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, wanted to host the event in order to put Palestine back on the international radar.

“The Palestine-Israel conflict is complicated. However, Indonesia won’t be silent in seeking to resolve the problems. When Palestinian President (Mahmoud) Abbas offered Indonesia the chance to hold the OIC summit, Indonesia agreed,” she said according to The Jakarta Post.

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The summit is being attended by officials from 57 member countries as well as representatives of the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.

The summit comes at a time of heightened tensions in Palestine and Israel, where hundreds of Palestinians have been killed and imprisoned by Israeli forces as part of a major crackdown on anti-occupation unrest.

Latest estimates from the Palestinian Health Ministry say the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since Oct. 1 stands at 162, including 30 minors.

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Also since October, Israel has arrested 2,400 people including over 1,200 children, according to a report released by the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainee’ Affairs in late December.

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