Prabowo, US top diplomat discuss permanent ceasefire in Gaza

The Indonesian president-elect traveled to Jordan to join world leaders focused on humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian territory.
Pizaro Gozali Idrus
Prabowo, US top diplomat discuss permanent ceasefire in Gaza U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (left) and Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto meet in Amman, Jordan, to discuss efforts to reach a ceasefire between Israeli and Palestinian fighters in Gaza, June 11, 2024.
Indonesia Ministry of Defense handout

Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto met with top U.S. diplomat Antony Blinken in Jordan this week to discuss efforts to establish a lasting ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the two countries’ governments said.

In the eyes of the United States, Prabowo could play a role in international efforts to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas militants because of his close ties to Islamic groups in his home country and contacts with Mid-East countries, an Indonesian analyst said. 

“The U.S. needs a figure who can explain the ceasefire efforts to Muslim groups,” Muradi, a professor of political and security studies at Padjajaran University in West Java, told BenarNews.

During his meeting with Blinken on Tuesday, Prabowo told the secretary of state that Indonesia welcomed the adoption of the U.N. Security Council Resolution proposed by U.S. President Joe Biden, according to a press release from the Indonesian defense ministry.

“An immediate, full, and comprehensive ceasefire is crucial to revive the peace process,” Prabowo told Blinken in Amman.

Prabowo, who serves as Indonesia’s defense minister, has undertaken a series of high-profile foreign trips on the international stage since being officially certified as the future leader of the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. He takes office in October. 

Prabowo said Indonesia also appreciated the mediation by the U.S., Egypt, and Qatar to end the 8-month-old war in Gaza and that his country was ready to cooperate to ensure negotiations continued toward a lasting peace.

“The government and people of Indonesia fully support Palestinian independence as a real solution to the conflict in Gaza,” Prabowo said during a speech on Tuesday to an international conference in the Jordanian capital on the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave.

Malaysia’s top diplomat also attended Tuesday’s conference called by Jordan.

Foreign Minister Mohamad Hasan and Blinken “concurred that a ceasefire is imperative for any humanitarian response in Gaza to be effective,” according to a news release from the Malaysian ministry.

Tunku Mohar Mokhtar, an assistant professor at the International Islamic University Malaysia, said the U.S., a firm ally of Israel, needed the support of Malaysia and other countries in pushing for peace in Gaza.

“I think the U.S realizes that international pressure is strong for an end of the crisis and that it should not be seen as being insensitive to such pressure,” he told BenarNews.

October attack

On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas militants launched a wave of attacks from Gaza on Israel that killed 1,200 people, and they took hundreds of people hostage, many of whom remain in captivity.

Israel retaliated by bombing Gaza and launching a military invasion that continues to this day. The Israeli strikes on Gaza have killed more than 37,000 civilians, many of them women and children, according to Gazan health authorities. 

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A Palestinian man carries two water containers past destroyed buildings in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip, June 11, 2024. [Eyad Baba/AFP]

Biden’s proposal, announced at the end of May, consists of three phases – a ceasefire, the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners, and the reconstruction of Gaza.

For his part, Blinken thanked Indonesia and Malaysia for supporting Biden’s proposal and assured attendees that those held hostage in Gaza would be released.

In his speech, Prabowo criticized nations that call themselves modern and civilized but commit “violations of international humanitarian law by targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure,” without naming specific countries.

“We call on all major countries to use their significant influence to uphold international law. The humanitarian disaster unfolding before our eyes must be addressed immediately,” Prabowo said.

Prabowo noted that Indonesia was ready to receive up to 1,000 patients from Gaza for treatment in Indonesian hospitals and would repatriate them once they recover and the situation in Gaza improves. 

The Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C), a humanitarian organization operating an Indonesian hospital in Gaza, has said Biden’s ceasefire proposal was acceptable to both Palestinian and Israeli groups. The committee also urged the U.S. to ensure that Israel agrees to it.

Sarbini Abdul Murad, chairman of the MER-C Presidium in Indonesia, urged the U.S. and Indonesian governments to secure guarantees from Israel not to damage health care facilities in Gaza. He noted that seven MER-C volunteers were working at hospitals and clinics in the enclave.

“Gaza has been attacked by Israel several times. Thankfully, now the Indonesian Hospital has started functioning, although not at full capacity,” he said, noting it is “operating at 10%.”

Meeting with world leaders

During the Shangri-La Dialogue security forum in Singapore earlier this month, Prabowo said Indonesia was ready to send peacekeeping troops to Gaza if given a United Nations mandate.

Since becoming president-elect, Prabowo has taken the unusual step of visiting with world leaders before taking office. In April, he traveled to Beijing to meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

From there, he traveled to Tokyo where he met with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.

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Indonesian President-elect Prabowo Subianto gestures during a special address at the 21st Shangri-La Dialogue meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, June 1, 2024. [Vincent Thian/AP]

Muradi, the analyst from Padjajaran University, said Blinken could have also decided to meet with Prabowo to discuss ceasefire efforts because of the Indonesian president-elect’s contacts throughout the Middle East.

“Jordan is among those who did not oppose the proposal. Egypt and Qatar are also on board, but the OIC countries as a whole are not. Prabowo is expected to lobby them,” Muradi said.

Sigit Riyanto, a professor of international law at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, said Prabowo is someone who could offer advice to those involved in the conflict. He said a ceasefire could succeed only if those involved reach an agreement.

“If they agree, then a ceasefire can happen. However, if they do not reach an agreement, a ceasefire will never occur,” Sigit told BenarNews.

For Palestinians, Sigit said, a desired ceasefire is not just about ending armed conflict but also about upholding the law.

“Parties involved in violations of the laws of war, genocide and serious human rights violations must be sanctioned, as requested by the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court,” he said.

Iman Muttaqin Yusof in Kuala Lumpur contributed to this report.


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