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ASEAN and Gaza

Updated On: Jan 21, 2009

As the Gaza conflict drags on, the death toll since the launch of the attack on Dec 27 had risen to 978 people, with 4,500 others injured.

The Vietnamese Government has decided to grant US$200,000 in emergent humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in Gaza channeled via the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees in the Near East to be passed on to the Palestinians.

Similarly, Brunei has set up a humanitarian fund for the people of Palestine to help provide relief for the ongoing conflict in Gaza, following the National Committee meeting on 14 Jan 2009.

The foreign casualties including 13 members of the medical corp, four journalists and four foreign nationals indicated the risks involved in aid provision and volunteerism.

Meanwhile, in the world’s largest Muslim nation, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has come under fire for failing to take action over Israel’s attacks on Gaza and speak directly with the US, a role that Indonesia has played in the past.

His silence about the Gaza conflict has also been criticized as being counterproductive to the solidarity of Indonesian protests on the streets.

Critics are urging the president to speak directly to the US instead of going through the UN and other international organizations. Observers have argued that Indonesia can leverage its economic ties with the US to effect some positive outcome for resolving the conflict.

Moreover, critics charge that Hillary Clinton, designated US Secretary of State in the Obama administration has herself emphasized Indonesia as a country with a key role to play in international affairs.

Somewhat aware of this pressure from the Indonesian people, the President on Tuesday 13 Jan 2009 criticized the UN for not acting fast enough.  

Sources:

Bernama, "Vietnam Donates US$200,000 To Palestinians In Gaza " dated 15 Jan 2009 in the Bernama website [downloaded on 15 Jan 2009], available at 
http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsworld.php?id=383769

Hani, Faez, "Brunei sets up fund for Gaza" dated 15 jan 2009 in the Brunei Times [downloaded on 15 Jan 2009], available at 
http://www.bt.com.bn/en/home_news/2009/01/15/brunei_sets_up_fund_for_gaz...

Khalik, Abdul, "SBY slammed for inaction against US over Israeli assaults" dated 15 Jan 2009 in the Jakarta Post [downloaded on 15 Jan 2009], available athttp://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2009/01/15/sby-slammed-inaction-again...







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