Blinken broaches Israel normalisation with Indonesian officials on Jakarta trip: report

Blinken broaches Israel normalisation with Indonesian officials on Jakarta trip: report
Israel could normalise relations with the world’s most populous Muslim country, but not any time soon, according to Israel officials.
2 min read
23 December, 2021
Antony Blinken speaks at the US Embassy in Jakarta last week [Getty]

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week discussed with senior Indonesian officials the possibility of the world’s largest Muslim country establishing formal diplomatic ties with Israel, according to American and Israeli media reports.

During his visit to Jakarta, Blinken reportedly broached the idea of Indonesia joining the Abraham Accords brokered under former President Donald Trump.

Hebrew-language news site Walla said Israeli officials familiar with the discussions confirmed the reports, but said no immediate breakthrough was expected.  

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told US news outlet Axios: “We are always exploring additional opportunities for normalisation, but we’ll leave those discussions behind closed doors until the right moment”.

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Another senior US official said the Biden administration was working “quietly but quite assiduously” to expand the accords.

Indonesian officials have yet to comment on the reports. Indonesia has publicly stated it will not normalise relations with Israel until a Palestinian state is established. 

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However, in November Israeli National Security Adviser Eyal Hulata met briefly with Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, exchanging business cards with him at Bahrain’s annual Manama Dialogue conference.

Israel has been keen to establish ties with Muslim-majority states in Southeast Asia.

Israel's ambassador to Singapore Sagi Karni said earlier this year that “Establishing ties with Israel… is the only way for outside parties to have significant impact on the Middle East.

“We are willing to talk, we are willing to meet, and the door is open as far as we are concerned. I don’t think it’s so difficult to find us,” he said, referring to southeast Asian nations Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei.