US Secretly Discusses Indonesia-Israel Normalization in Jakarta?

Image Source: VOA Indonesia

Secretary of State for the United States (US) Anthony Blinken reportedly discussed the proposal to normalize diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Israel during his visit to Jakarta last week. It is said that he discussed this agenda directly with the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi.

In the US media report, Axios, this information was obtained directly from Israeli officials. Even so, the authority of the Jewish State said this plan could not be realized in the near future.

“US and Israeli officials have discussed ways to expand the Abraham Agreement in recent months, and Indonesia has emerged in that context, according to Israeli officials, quoted Friday (12/24/2021).

In a different session, the US State Department itself did not provide an immediate response to justify this. Even so, a spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, said Washington has always wanted to work on opportunities for normalization with Israel
“We are always exploring additional opportunities for normalization, but we will leave those discussions closed until the appropriate time,” he said.

Furthermore, Axios said that this report had not been officially responded to and further confirmed by the Israeli government and the Indonesian embassy in Washington.

This is actually not the first time the issue of normalization between Indonesia and Israel has surfaced. Early last year a report said that the US administration under President Donald Trump was trying to explore this normalization opportunity. In fact, Trump lured additional funding if Indonesia softened and was willing to open diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv.

“With a population of over 270 million, Indonesia is the largest Muslim country in the world. That gives it ‘extra symbolic importance’ to the Trump administration, which states that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict need not be an obstacle to peace between a Jewish state and the Muslim and Arab worlds.

Israel and Indonesia do not have formal diplomatic relations. Jakarta has always argued to the world that Israel has carried out an illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.

Even so, the two countries are reported to be cooperating in trade and tourism. Indonesia has also purchased weapons from Israel in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin even had a chance to meet with the then-President of Indonesia, Suharto, who was in office at the time in Jakarta.

Not only that, meetings of officials from the two countries have also been reported several times. Recently, a photo shows the Minister of Defense (Menhan) Prabowo Subianto as he talks with the Israeli Charge d’Affaires for Bahrain Itay Tagner in Manama. However, Prabowo’s spokesman Dahnil Anzar Simanjuntak, explained that the meeting was an unintentional very brief meeting

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