Israel says 'progress made' in normalisation talks with Indonesia, world's largest Muslim country

Israel says 'progress made' in normalisation talks with Indonesia, world's largest Muslim country
Indonesia could be the latest Muslim-majority country to normalise ties with Israel, despite the ongoing brutal bombardment of Gaza.
2 min read
11 April, 2024
Israel says that progress has been made in normalising ties with Indonesia [Getty]

Israel has made progress in normalising ties with Indonesia, an Israeli official speaking on condition of anonymity said on Thursday, despite the ongoing brutal assault on Gaza.

The deal with the world's largest Muslim country is reportedly to allow it into a global forum for developed countries, Israeli media announced.

The reports come following months of talks between Israel, Indonesia, and the secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The OECD started the process of adding Jakarta to the 38-nation forum in February, however, Israel reportedly objected due to the lack of diplomatic relations.

In order for a country to join OECD, they must have the unanimous backing of all the bloc's members.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz insisted that normalisation would be needed to allow Indonesia to join.

Israeli media said the OECD secretary-general sent a letter to Katz after weeks of talks, saying he had brokered an agreement where Indonesia would not be allowed to join the bloc until it normalised ties, with the wording of the letter approved by Jakarta.

This week, Israel permitted Indonesia to take part in an air-drop of humanitarian aid to Gaza for the first time.

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Rumours over the two countries normalising ties have circulated for years, despite Indonesia insisting this would not happen until an independent Palestinian state is established.

Indonesia’s vice-President Ma'ruf Amin said last month that the two countries were not on course to establish diplomatic relations and Jakarta had not changed its position on the Palestinian issue since the Asia-Africa Conference held in the country in 1955.

"Indonesia is firm in its position of rejecting that [normalisation]," he said, describing the occupied territory as "the largest prison in the world for Palestinian people".

Indonesia President Joko Widodo's office also denied Israeli reports that Israel and Indonesia were intending to normalise relations in October, before the war suspended talks.

In January, Indonesia backed South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, and filed a case against Israel.

Israel has killed over 33,000 Palestinians in Gaza since the start of the war on 7 October, with an additional 70,000 wounded in the same time frame.

Israel’s bombardment has wreaked havoc on the besieged enclave, plunging it into a deep humanitarian crisis.

Gaza's healthcare facilities have collapsed, while aid organisations have repeatedly warned that the enclave is on the brink of famine.