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Israel and allies try to pressure Muslim countries to normalize ties, Indonesia says

Jakarta Globe - June 3, 2024

Jayanty Nada Shofa, Jakarta – Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said Monday that Israel and its allies had been trying to get Muslim countries to normalize ties.

Retno said that Israel had been making some "systematic efforts to finish off Palestine". This includes persuading Muslim countries to officially establish diplomatic relations with Israel with the help of its allies.

"There are systematic efforts by Israel and its allies to lobby and pressure Muslim countries into considering normalizing ties with Israel," Retno told a conference held at Yogyakarta's Gadjah Mada University (UGM).

Retno, however, did not go into details about who she meant by Israel's allies. Nor did she say which Muslim countries had Israel been specifically approaching. But throughout the years, the US has proven to have close relations with Israel. Washington is also a major military backer to Israel.

But in 2020, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain established ties with Israel as part of the US-brokered Abraham Accords. Morocco also reached a similar agreement later that year. All three are Muslim-majority countries. News agency Al-Jazeera reported that the US had been pushing for an Israel-Saudi normalization deal. According to the Middle East Monitor, Saudi Arabia will only recognize Israel if it adopts the two-state solution. In other words, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state – alongside Israel – will have to occur first before Saudi normalizes its relations.

Indonesia, which also has a predominantly Muslim population, has repeatedly been caught in normalization rumors. Indonesia does not have official diplomatic ties with Israel, although they are still trading with one another.

Government data shows that Indonesia-Israel trade totaled $65.8 million in the first three months of 2024. Israeli media not long ago claimed that Indonesia was mulling establishing ties with Israel to gain entry to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Israel is one of the members of the OECD, and Jakarta has to get its approval if it wants to have its membership bid accepted. The Indonesian government has already denied opening ties with Israel.

Retno also told the UGM forum that Indonesia had been consistent with its pro-Palestine stance while saying that this consistency has earned Jakarta respect from the international community. Indonesia also has no plans of changing its stance even in the future administration as Prabowo Subianto takes office this October.

"Indonesia has consistently upheld universal principles and values to support Palestine. Consistency in embracing these principles is not easy. It is extremely hard to [keep this stance] amidst today's messy world filled with pressure and promises of transactions here and there, but the Indonesian government was able to stand its ground," Retno said.

Source: https://jakartaglobe.id/news/israel-and-allies-try-to-pressure-muslim-countries-to-normalize-ties-indonesia-say