Why Indonesia Could Be the Next Country to Normalize Its Ties with Israel

In the 1950s, Indonesia—the world’s largest Muslim-majority country and its fourth most populous—placed itself firmly on the side of the Arab world and what was then known as the “nonaligned bloc” against Israel. But in the 1980s, Jakarta began buying military equipment from Israel; civilian commerce, and then other forms of cooperation, followed. The two countries, however, still do not have formal diplomatic relations. Amotz Asa-El delves into this history, identifies a clear pattern of ever-warmer ties, and argues that Indonesia should, and perhaps will, follow in the footsteps of the UAE, Bahrain, and others:

Back when Indonesia chose to treat Israel as a mistress, rendezvousing with it only in the dark, the Jewish state was still ostracized by two superpowers, China and the Soviet Union, as well as the rest of the Eastern Bloc, and also India, which until 1992 refused to admit an Israeli ambassador. Today this history is so distant that to younger Israelis it sounds like prehistory.

This means that by shunning Israel the way it does, Indonesia is relegating itself to the company of economic laggards like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Indonesia, with 270 million people sprawled on more than 17,000 islands between Oceania and China, is in a position to become a major world power. Shunning Israel will not serve that cause.

Like almost any other country, Indonesia is threatened by Islamist violence. But unlike any other country, it is in a position, as the world’s largest Muslim-majority state, to inspire a great reconciliation between Islam and the rest of mankind. That is indeed what its leaders seem to be aiming for.

However, shunning the Jewish state is, for millions of Jews worldwide, an affront, and thus hampers Indonesia’s potential role as a leader of . . . interreligious reconciliation. This is Indonesia’s strategic calling, and its leaders know this. That is why the next Abraham Accords will be signed between the world’s largest Muslim domain, and only Jewish state.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham Accords, Indonesia


How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion