The Rocky Path to Israel-Indonesia Normalization Remains Open

On October 13, Israel and Indonesia had planned to announce the opening of trade offices in each other’s countries as a step in the direction of full diplomatic relations. The announcement was postponed indefinitely after the Hamas attacks, which have left the world’s largest Muslim-majority country skittish about ties with the Jewish state. At the same time, dealings between Jerusalem and Jakarta changed their focus to the more urgent issue of getting Indonesian citizens—including two influential social-media personalities dedicated to exposing Israel’s supposed mistreatment of Palestinians—out of the Gaza Strip. Lahav Harkov reports:

Muhammad Husein, the founder of the NGO International Networking for Humanitarian, who runs a YouTube channel called “Muhammad Husein Gaza” with over 1.2 million followers, . . . sought to leave Gaza with his wife and two children, ages nine and four. Another three volunteers at the NGO-run Indonesian Hospital in Gaza were on the list, though they decided to stay.

Husein claimed on YouTube that “Israel wants to drop a nuclear bomb on Gaza. It comes from the mouths of people who have the DNA of genocide perpetrators,” he said of the people who were working to rescue him.

Eventually Husein made it out via Egypt, thanks to Israel’s intense behind-the-scenes efforts, as did several other Indonesian citizens. Harkov continues:

The IDF [later] raided the Indonesian Hospital, finding Hamas tunnels, weapons, and a hostage’s car on the premises. The Indonesian foreign minister Retno Marsudi condemned the operation as “a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law,” taking part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration attended by 100,000 in Jakarta that day.

Indonesia joined South Africa’s suit at the International Court of Justice in January, claiming Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians—even though Jakarta is not a party to the 1948 Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. . . . Despite the rhetoric against Israel from Jakarta, there have been new indications of a possible warming of ties in recent weeks.

Read more at Jewish Insider

More about: Gaza War 2023, Indonesia, Israel diplomacy


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy