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Wednesday, July 24, 2024  
17 Muharram 1446  

Indonesia rejects reports on normalizing ties with Israel

Reports claimed the largest Muslim nations was ready to make the move in exchange for OECD membership
Indonesian protesters raise slogans outside US embassy in Jakarta in January 2024. Photo Reuters
Indonesian protesters raise slogans outside US embassy in Jakarta in January 2024. Photo Reuters

Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has dismissed media reports suggesting that the country would establish diplomatic relations with Israel in return for membership at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Channel News Asia reported.

In a statement to Antara news agency on Thursday night, Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Lalu Muhamad Iqbal stated that there were no current plans to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, particularly due to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Iqbal reaffirmed Indonesia’s unwavering support for Palestinian independence and emphasized their commitment to defending the rights of the Palestinian people.

Indonesia, aiming to become an advanced economy by 2045, has initiated the process of joining the OECD. The intergovernmental organization, consisting mostly of developed countries, requires unanimous approval from its members, including Israel, to accept new countries.

The timeline for Indonesia’s full membership in the OECD is yet to be determined, according to Iqbal, who mentioned that the process typically takes three to five years. The roadmap for Indonesia’s OECD membership is expected to be adopted in May.

Last month, President Joko Widodo’s office refuted media reports suggesting a planned normalization of relations between Jakarta and Tel Aviv in October 2023, which was allegedly put on hold due to the Hamas attack in Israel and the subsequent conflict in Gaza.

Reports from Israeli news outlets indicated that Indonesia had agreed to normalize relations with Israel as a condition for joining the OECD.

Secret negotiations involving Jakarta, Tel Aviv, and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann laid the groundwork for this agreement.

It was reported that Indonesia had accepted a clause stating that diplomatic relations with Israel must be established before its OECD membership is approved. A letter from Cormann to Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, reportedly approved by Indonesia, stated that the Council had agreed to these conditions. Katz welcomed the development and expressed hope for a positive change in Indonesia’s policy towards Israel.

The normalization of relations between Indonesia and Israel, if realized, would hold significance amid ongoing anti-Israel sentiment related to its military operations in Gaza.

It would also resolve Israel’s opposition to Indonesia’s OECD membership. Last year, FIFA revoked Indonesia’s U-20 World Cup host status following protests by Islamic groups and objections from two governors regarding Israel’s participation.

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