Israel & Lebanon II

Jul 31st, 2006, in News, by

The middle eastern crisis and Indonesian reactions to it.

Continued from part I and the Palestinian cause.


Muhammadiyah advises against sending any jihadists to Palestine & Lebanon. The United Nations should be relied upon to resolve the problems, Muhammadiyah leader Din Syamsuddin said on 28th July. But, he said, those who did go to Lebanon could not be classed as suicide bombers, suicide bombing being sinful. In any case he doubted that any Indonesian had already gone there due to the difficulty and expense of doing so. Finally he advised the waging of jihad by more peaceful means such as the giving of aid, or by prayer.

Hasyim Muzadi, of the NU, also advised against any rash actions but he did urge the uniting of the Muslim and Arab worlds against Israel.

All countries, Arab countries and the Muslim community must unite to fight Israel.
(Semua negara – negara Arab serta umat muslim di dunia harus bersatu untuk melawan Israel.)

But, he said that this fight should not extend to the sending of jihadists, pouring scorn on the idea with some humour.

Don’t send a force. Before they even got there they’d catch a cold.
(Kalau dengan mengirim laskar-laskar ya jangan. Belum sampai ke tujuan mereka nanti sudah masuk angin dulu.)

The United States applied a double standard in respect of Israel, he said:

When it concerns Israel America doesn’t say anything. Human rights are trampled on and the US just closes its eyes.
(Tapi kalau sudah menyangkut Israel, AS diam saja. HAM dilanggarnya, dan AS tutup mata.)

On the 31st the West Sumatra branch of the Majelis Mujahidin (MMI) opened registration for volunteers to go to the war zone. The volunteers would be given training before being sent to the Middle Eastern countries, an MMI spokesman said, and added that the police and military would be asked to provide such training.

Also in West Sumatra the local Partai Persatuan Pembangunan (PPP) branch said it was ready to send volunteers to Lebanon and Palestine to deliver humanitarian aid and help maintain peace in the region. Chairman of the PPP and former vice president Hamzah Haz, said in Pangkalpinang:

If the government ask we are ready to send our men there and I feel that our party members are ready to do it.
(Kalau memang diminta pemerintah, kita siap mengirimkan relawan ke sana, dan saya rasa kader partai juga siap melakukan itu.)


The government in Jakarta does seem very willing to send some sort of Indonesian force to the area, though one not comprised of volunteers, but of the Indonesian military. Repeated offers have been made to the United Nations of a force of 600 soldiers, and as Marshal Djoko Suyanto says, the force has already been prepared:

Wev’e already formed the force, wer’e just waiting on the results of the Security Council meeting.
(Kami sudah membentuk satuannya, tinggal menunggu hasil sidang Dewan Keamanan PBB.)

Marshal Suyanto says he is still waiting on the call from the UN. He may be waiting for some time yet.


Various religious figures, including some from Christian organisations, numbering 22 in total, visited the United Nations building in Jakarta on 28th July to urge the UN to take action against Israel. Those who took part included Muhammadiyah leader Din Syamsuddin, chairman of the Persatuan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia, the Indonesian Protestant Churches Council, (PGI) Andreas Dewangoe, chairman of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI), Amidhan, and Muslim spiritual guru Abdullah Gymnastiar alias Aa Gym, among others. Representatives of the UN however did not meet the group.

Andreas Yewangoe, of the PGI, said, according to Antara:

We condemn the Israeli aggression. Its actions are beyond humanity, they have to be stopped. We also call on religious communities in the world to pray for peace in the Middle East.

Aa Gym said Indonesia, as the biggest Muslim country in the world, had to push international organisations to act.

If Israel’s attacks on civilians are not stopped then it will trigger vengeful acts around the world to the point where world peace will be threatened.
(Kalau tindakan Israel yang menyerang penduduk sipil itu tidak dihentikan maka akan memicu pembalasan dan dendam di seluruh dunia sehingga mengancam perdamaian dunia.)

It is not reported whether he thought attacks on civilians by Lebanese and Palestinian militias would also be likely to endanger world peace.

Also on the 28th the ambassador of Palestine, Fariz N. Mehdawi, attended the opening of the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) conference and asked for the support of that organisation. He also harped on the theme of Indonesia as the biggest Muslim country in the world:

We really hope for support from Indonesia, from the NU as well as from society in general. The reason is, Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world.
(Kami sangat berharap adanya dukungan dari Indonesia, baik dari Nahdlatul Ulama maupun dari masyarakat Indonesia pada umumnya. Sebab warga Indonesia merupakan umat muslim yang besar.)

The streets have also witnessed the concern of some Indonesian Muslims. In Surakarta on July 31st Israeli “brutalism” was condemned by about 3000 members of the PKS, who demanded that the Islamic world unite, the United Nations disband, and Zionist products be boycotted. It appears, according to the PKS supporters, that 36 products can be considered products of Zionism, or at least as having a close association with that ideology, these being IBM, Intel, Nestle, and Nokia, among many others. Detik reports however that many PKS cadres were seen to be using Nokia mobile phones, throwing the matter of a boycott into some confusion.

Batam too also saw PKS cadres spill onto the streets, accompanied by Hizbut Tahrir supporters, numbering about 300 people.

The government was roused to further protests by the disastrous Israeli attack on the town of Qana in Lebanon, in which many women and children were killed.

The government of Indonesia fiercely condemns this inhuman crime.
(Pemerintah Indonesia mengutuk keras aksi kejahatan ini, yang sangat tidak berperikemanusiaan.)

said a foreign office spokesman.

Press Bias

One of the most striking factors in Indonesian press reports of the conflict is the level of bias and partisanship. in particular seems unable to mention the name of Israel without partnering the word with “brutal”. Even the state news agency, Antara, is not immune. The latest report from Antara, as of time of writing, begins:

Following protests against Israeli inhuman missile attacks on Palestine and Lebanon, the organization of Malaysian and Indonesian Youths plan to hold a special meeting in Jakarta on August 2, 2006.

And again from the English service of Antara, the headline of another article reads “Who can bring Israeli agression in Lebanon to an end?“. (On a lighter note, a sub-heading in the same article reads “What Arab League has done” which is followed by about five paragraphs of waffle instead of what would have been the more succinct, and correct, answer – “Nothing”).

Any radicalising of Indonesian Muslims can be blamed just as much on the press reaction to events in the middle east as on the events themselves. Needless to say, repeated terrorist attacks by Hamas and Hizbullah, now and in the past, have not excited the interest of Indonesian media to anywhere near the same extent, nor have they provoked such creative use of emotion-stirring adjectives in reporting.

16 Comments on “Israel & Lebanon II”

  1. Magy says:

    Why is it so important for Muslim and Arab countries to unite? Why do RI have to bond with a certain part when there is no such need? Why can RI not be open and bond with EU, Japan, the US, China and India AND the Arabs? Why just the Arabs? I don’t think this make sense.

    Quetion? If my neighbour is Christian or Hindu – is she less a sister of mine than another Muslim in another part of the planet?

    Please change the agitation and stop religion from parting us – religion is second to humanity. Foremost we are human beings, this defines us more than if we are sunnis, shias, hinus, Catholics, etc.

    IF RI continue to distance itself from the rest of the democratic world and insist on becoming the third Arabic state it will hurt RI most and particularly poor women and children. They are always the once lowest on the scale, poorest, when the economic development stalls. The political, financial and religious elite will always come out on top.

    Therefore I’m particurlarly surprised that Golkar supports this direction.

  2. Tony says:

    Strange Country: fighting in the Middle East with the Arabs and in Maluku against Indonesian, solidarity with people living 10,000Km apart while evicting and oppressing neigbours such as Ahmedyyah followers, Papuan, Timorese etc. It seems to me religion is more important than nationality.

  3. O. Bule says:

    As my Indonesian relatives put it, ‘Crazy Arabs, what can you say about them?’ There is no need for Indonesia to go down the same insane road as the Arabs follow; to do so would be foolish. Let the Arabs and Israelis figure out a way to live together on their own.

    O. Bule

  4. Molisan Tono says:

    Israelite got insane, Hizbolah nut-job as well. but this war is totally absurd. no need and waste too many lives.

    but who am i? if this war should happen, then it’s not my hand to wash out.

  5. Andrew says:

    Please, send as many jihadists over to the middle east, the more the merrier. We don’t need them back home.

    OH, and send them to Iraq and Afghanistan as well.

    It’s like to cleaning up a mess at home.

  6. Miss Indo 07 says:

    I LOVE UR OPINION ANDREW! hehe,that’s wad i told everybody else,just send as many as possible jihadis to those countries n make sure they wont come home,hahaha…
    because this country need less narrow-minded people like that,indo is too full already..
    I’m a Christian,but there’s no way I will support the Israel to bomb n kill innocent Moslem people,maybe just tell Israel to bomb those fanatic radical Moslem in indo,it’s gonna b better..
    n I also have a lot of Moslem friends,n trust me they’re not stupid like those f&%#in terrorists n FPI n NU n MUI n else…
    haha,just go to hell man..

  7. Benjamin says:

    Now let me clear the situation for you people. Hisbullah is Iran. Iran is Sunni. majority of sunni come from iran. Indonesia along with other Arab countries is Syi’ah. Iran wants to be recognize as a strong Moslem country that is equal with other Moslem countries. All the Arab think it’s a joke because Syi’ah is the majority and they rule. Iran, wants to prove that they strong enough so the way to prove it is to wipe Israel of the fae of earth. so what they do is, they send their dogs of war named Hisbullah to Beirut, they take hostage of the city along with few Israeli soldiers and then they bombed Israel. So, what Israel did is they fight back so that their nation doesnt perished. So, to Iran it’s a matter of good reputation, to Israel it’s a matter of life and dead.

    So if you say Israel is guilty then you are BLOODY WRONG. Hisbullah is a terorist as well as Iran, and even Moslem’s ALLAH surely would put them warmly in HELL where they belong.

    I rest my case

  8. Miss Indo 07 says:

    ic,I just known about this today benjamin..
    thx 4 d information..

  9. Hassan says:

    correction, iran is syiah, and the rest of the Arab world is mostly sunni, Indonesia is mostly sunni too, you got the names wrong.

    jeez benjamin, are you working as a public relations officer for tel aviv? you said: “So if you say Israel is guilty then you are BLOODY WRONG”, are you saying Israel is right? are you saying killing more then 1000 civilians is right? the incident in Qana is right?

    “they send their dogs of war named Hisbullah to Beirut, they take hostage of the city” and how come Lebanon PM Fouad Siniora and the lebanese people supported hizbullah and refused to disarm them.

    two possibilities, you watch too much fox news/cnn/cnbc or you’re one of those murderous Jews, which is more likely considering your moniker. in that case, just go back to tel aviv, or haifa, so the katyusha rockets can reach you.

    MISS INDO 07, disregard benjamins political conspiracy theories, they are just propagandas and lies. the fact is more than a 1000 lebanese civilians, women and children included, had died since the attacks began.

  10. Hassan says:

    hey andrew and MISS INDO 07, I’m intrigued, we all knew that Lebanon is 51% Christians (Catholic, maronit, and druze) and 49% Muslim (sunni and syiah). so, as a country with lots of Christians, how come none of you Christians help your fellow Christians in Lebanon? why do you just stand and watch your brethrens die and got masacred by non-Christians (Jews)? do you have the guts to go there and help them? I guess not…
    at least those people had something you don’t: courage.

    even the so called good religious Christian like george w. bush sided with the Israeli, and where is he now? in his ranch on a holiday. can you still sleep and eat well while your fellow Christians are being slaughtered as well there in Lebanon?

  11. Andrew says:

    I don’t think those jihadists know nor think about the fact that Lebanon is 51% Christian. All they want to do is go and kill some Jews (or so think think) – that’s the major motivator.

    And why did you think we didn’t help our fellow Christians? you just don’t know.

  12. Hassan says:

    i doubt it, have you made a psychological study on those people? do you know them? if not, how can you conclude that their major motivation was to kill Jews?

  13. Andrew says:

    Hassan the holy-man, i thought that idea was clear? a lot of them expressed their view publicly, talking on TV and to newspaper reporters.

  14. Bradlymail says:

    WE ARE A BLOODY FOOL…..BOTH ARE JEWS AND ARABS ARE BROTHERS…so do not bother about them,for many centuries.They created many religions for us to fight to each other….bull sh*t !

  15. Hassan says:

    saint Peter, maybe you’re right, maybe some of them are full of hatred, but let’s not generalize and stereotype people, shall we? the only ones who understood their motives are themselves, not us.

  16. Melita says:

    I’m intrigued by the comments of this very post (too bad it has been kinda rusty).
    Personal opinions about jihad aside,
    let me ask you,
    do (and how much) you believe in your media?
    After all,
    we got most of the story from the media.

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