I am very pleased to find out in this coming October the Government Press Office will hold the second Christian Media Summit. Last year I was the only one from Indonesia who was invited to come with 130 participants from 70 countries. For four days I received various information relating to Israel which was very useful to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Israeli and Palestinian issues. During visited several locations in the West Bank increased my knowledge because I imagined the dividing wall between Israeli and Palestinian territories surrounding the entire region. It turns out that only 5% of the 629 kilometres overall length of the security fence is in the form of a concrete wall. When I arrived at President Reuven Rivlin’s residence I was surprised that the road in front of the residence of the President of Israel can still be passed by the public and there are still residents who live in front of the house. Unlike in Indonesia, President Joko Widodo can live in a palace in Jakarta that has a large yard around the palace so that it is not close to the main road and far from residential areas.
Having the right perspective on Israeli and Palestinian issues is a must for every journalist. The mass media are the voice of truth, presenting facts and must educate the public through the news. As a journalist in Indonesia for 16 years, I understand the importance of a journalist’s insight, especially because Indonesia and Israel do not have diplomatic relations. The Indonesian government until today still considers Israel occupies Palestine so is the mass media. Although Indonesia accept two states solution, on the official website of the President of Indonesia, Palestine is considered not yet independent even though the Palestinian Embassy has been established in Jakarta and Indonesia has placed an Honorary Consul in Ramallah. Violence against civilians or Israeli soldiers is often seen as a result of Israeli occupation not due to violence committed by the Hamas terrorist group against Israel. The mass media in Indonesia easily cites statements from Palestinian supporters both from within Indonesia.
What deserves attention is that mass media in Indonesia can only rely on foreign news agencies in obtaining news about Israel and Palestine. Almost no Indonesian mass media has contributors in Israel or Palestine. The problem occurs if the foreign mass media reports information without cover both sides so that some news is not confirmed by Israel. An example is the news of Israel killing Palestinian children. One of Indonesia’s best mass media, Tempo quoted Anabolu News Agency which is a media from Turkey. Tempo wrote: The Israeli occupation forces killed around 2,000 Palestinian children since the Second Intifada broke out in September 2000. “That means, the Israeli army has killed a child every three days for 18 years,” Anadolu news agency wrote.
Seputar Indonesia (Sindo) wrote, “Israel Allegedly Created an Artificial Earthquake to Destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque” based on The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). The aim, according to the article, is to demolish the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Dome of the Rock and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Another example is here, even though the news was published by Al-Qaeda television, the media in Indonesia, Merdeka.com quoted and reported with the title, “Israel uses chemical fluids to knock down Al-Aqsa Mosque.” Merdeka wrote: Representatives of the Islamic Movement in Israel Sheikh Kamal Khatib during an interview with Al-Qaeda said Israeli Israeli television station to make the mosque collapse since 22 years ago. Another issue related to Al Aqsa is the construction of a tunnel under the mosque which is claimed to be able to demolish the mosque. I have written and published photos of tunnels under the Wailing Wall and have been read by more than 17 thousand people. This shows Indonesian interest in information relating to Israel.
Another unequal news about Israel is the claim of accusation that Israel which formed ISIS and the leader of ISIS was a Mossad agent. This kind of information is published by the mass media which is quite liked by many people, Intisari. Intisari wrote: Edward Snowden, as reported by Veteran Today, once exposed the guise of Al-Baghdadi. He said that the ISIS leader was a Mossad agent who was Jewish. Al Baghdadi’s real name is Emir Daash aka Simon Elliot aka Elliot Shimon. Simon was trained and recruited by the Mossad to spy and wage war with Arabs and Muslims.
Of course we cannot prohibit people from writing, reporting or providing information. But information is a force that can be useful or dangerous depending on who the messager is. Because of that, I am happily welcome the 2nd Christian Media Summit next October in Jerusalem, i wish that more speakers will be able to provide sufficient information to counter any false news about Israel. Activities such as the Christian Media Summit will greatly help journalists, editors and media owners to see firsthand the realities that occur, able to hear the opinions of credible sources directly and provide direct experience in locations that cannot be accessed in Israel. I hope the news agency that is a reference for media in Indonesia is willing to send journalists to educate their own journalists in order to understand the Israeli and Palestinian issues. Because of the Christian Media Summit last year i can wrote and posted on the Hadassah of Indonesia and my Facebook page. Hopefully it can be an adequate source of information in terms of Israel and Palestine, Jews and the history of the Holocaust for Indonesians.
Monique Rijkers, founder of Hadassah of Indonesia