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Indonesia to normalize relations with Israel, says report

In exchange for establishing diplomatic relations, Jerusalem will lift its opposition to the world's largest Muslim-majority country joining the OECD.

A skyline view of Jakarta, Indonesia. Credit: Yohanes Budiyanto via Wikimedia Commons.
A skyline view of Jakarta, Indonesia. Credit: Yohanes Budiyanto via Wikimedia Commons.

Israel is set to normalize relations with Indonesia, the largest Muslim-majority country in the world, Ynet reported on Thursday.

The move comes after three months of secret talks between Jerusalem and Jakarta. In exchange for establishing diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, Jerusalem will reportedly lift its opposition to Indonesia becoming the 39th member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann sent a letter to Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz around two weeks ago, with Jakarta approving the wording.

“I am happy to announce that the Council has officially agreed to the early, clear and explicit condition that Indonesia maintain diplomatic relations with all members of the organization before any decision to accept [it in] the OECD,” the letter states.

“Moreover, any future decision to accept Indonesia as a member of the organization will require unanimous agreement among all the members, including Israel. I am convinced that this provides you with security on this important point,” the letter continues.

In a reply letter that Katz sent on Wednesday night and which was seen by Ynet, the minister wrote that “I share your expectation that this process will be a change for Indonesia, as I expect a positive change in its policy towards Israel, and in particular a renunciation of the discriminatory policy towards Israel, towards the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the parties.”

Indonesia has spoken out against Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza and supported South Africa’s lawsuit at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide. However, on Tuesday an Indonesian aircraft participated in an airdrop of humanitarian aid into Gaza, marking the first time that an Indonesian aircraft has flown through Israeli airspace.

Indonesia was one of the Muslim-majority countries that Jerusalem was working to add to the Abraham Accords in the months before the Hamas-led invasion of Oct. 7.

With a population of around 280 million, the southeastern Asian country is the most populous Muslim state in the world. Although Jakarta does not have official diplomatic ties with Jerusalem, there have been unofficial connections in trade, technology and tourism.

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