Saturday, 28 Jumadil Akhir 1441 / 22 February 2020

Saturday, 28 Jumadil Akhir 1441 / 22 February 2020

House speaker deplores Staquf's visit to Israel

Sabtu 16 Jun 2018 06:54 WIB

Rep: Debbie Sutrisno, Amri Amrullah/ Red: Reiny Dwinanda

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Yahya Cholil Staquf.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Yahya Cholil Staquf.

Foto: Benjamin Netanyahu Twitter
Staquf's visit to Israel could potentially cause an uproar, Bambang says.

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- House Speaker Bambang Soesatyo expressed his criticism over the current visit of a government official figure to Israel. He said KH Yahya Cholil Staquf's visit potentially could cause an uproar. Moreover, the visit happened just before elections.

"It is, indeed, deplorable for an elite member to cause controversy and political noise," he said on the sideline of an open house at his residence here on Friday.

He added that the current visit of Staquf to occupied Jerusalem had caused an unconducive situation. "We are supposed to have common understanding on the need to create a conducive situation ahead of the democracy feast," he said, referring to regional elections on June 27 and parliamentary and presidential elections in April next year.

Staquf, who is an Islamic figure from the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) organization, came to Israel after receiving an invitation. The visit has caused controversy in Indonesia, which has always been supporting Palestinian independence.

Staquf, who was recently appointed as a Presidential Advisory Board member, spoke at the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Global Forum and gave a general lecture at The Truman Institute in Israel. Several days after that, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who later posted the meeting on his Twitter account which, in turn, also caused various reactions from netizens and community members in Indonesia.

After meeting Indonesian Muslim figure Yahya Cholil Staquf, Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that Israel is getting a warmer ties with Muslim countries.

President Joko Widodo has stated that Staquf's departure to Israel was not a part of the Indonesian Government diplomacy. Indonesia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

"It was his personal affair because he was invited to be a speaker in Israel," Jokowi said in Presidential Palace, Jakarta, on Tuesday.

Earlier, Staquf said the lecture was cancelled but then it rolled on. Jokowi claimed to have read Staquf's speech. He also received information that Staquf attended the forum to promote peace and support the Palestinians.

However, the president has not got report on the result of the forum attended by Staquf. "I will summon him later," Jokowi said.

Meanwhile, Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama (PBNU) also stated its stance in Palestine and Israel conflict. PBNU Chairman Said Aqil Siradj said the organization had been and will always be on the side of Palestine. "Kiai Staquf represents himself, not PBNU," Siradj said in a voice recording statement made available to the reporters on Tuesday.

Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI) did not support Staquf decision to visit Israel. Chairman MUI KH Ma'ruf Amin said diplomacy should not be done by individuals, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Responding to heavy criticism at home, Staquf has stressed his stance towards Palestine. He was in Jerusalem to support Palestine, adding that all should honor Palestine's sovereignty as a free country.

Staquf believed that inter-faiths cooperation could be the basis in solving conflicts. He said the problem was about civilization related to religion. "As a Muslim, we wanted to do our part with our religion," he remarked.

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