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The New Arab Staff

Indonesia could get 'billions in US funding' for normalising ties with Israel

Indonesians protest against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 December, 2020

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Indonesian Muslim groups and pro-Palestine NGOs have slammed the prospect of normalising ties with Israel.
Indonesia could receive billions of dollars in US funding if it agrees to normalise relations with Israel, an official said this week.

The US International Development Finance Corporation could more than double its current $1 billion portfolio in the world's most populous Muslim nation if Jakarta establishes ties with Tel Aviv, the agency's CEO Adam Boehler told Bloomberg.

"We're talking to them about it," Boehler said on Monday. "If they're ready, they're ready and if they are then we'll be happy to even support more financially than what we do."

Boehler was in Israel as part of a US delegation led by special advisor Jared Kushner. The delegation travelled to Morocco on Tuesday, where Kushner attended a signing ceremony for a normalisation pact between Rabat and Tel Aviv.

Indonesia is among several Muslim-majority states that are rumoured to be in US-brokered talks to normalise ties with Israel.

The reported negotiations come against the backdrop of normalisation agreements between Israel and Bahrain, the UAE, Morocco and Sudan.

Last week, Jakara rejected the reports, saying it has "never been in contact with Israel".

Indonesia "is still consistent with Palestine in accordance with the mandate of the constitution", Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Teuku Faizasyah said.

Indonesian Muslim groups and pro-Palestine NGOs have condemned normalisation efforts between Israel and Arab states.

"Any form of support or normalisation with Israel means supporting the occupation," Muhendri Muchtar, chair of the Indonesian Committee for Palestinian Solidarity, told Turkish state news agency Anadolu in October.

The Hidayatullah Islamic Organisation also condemned establishing ties with Israel in response to the Emirati-Israeli agreement.

"Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands is a crime, and normalising relations with Israel means validating a crime," said Dzikrullah Pramudya, the organisation's foreign policy chief.

"What if the Indonesian people were fighting for their independence, but at the same time, their neighbours such as Malaysia, Brunei, or Singapore normalised their relations with the Dutch? How would we feel about that?" Pramudya asked in October.

The US-brokered normalisation agreements have been met with widespread condemnation from Palestinians and Muslim-majority nations.

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