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US official: Indonesia could get billions in funding in return for normalisation

Indonesian Muslims stage a protest outside the US ambassador's office in Indonesia against US President Donald Trump's announcement to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Jakarta on December, 8, 2017 [Dasril Roszandi / Anadolu Agency]
Indonesian Muslims stage a protest outside the US ambassador's office in Indonesia against US President Donald Trump's announcement to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Jakarta on December, 8, 2017 [Dasril Roszandi / Anadolu Agency]

Indonesia could see billions of dollars in additional funding from the US if it agreed to normalise ties with Israel, a US official has said.

Bloomberg quoted Chief Executive of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Adam Buehler, as saying that the agency could double its investments in Indonesia, which currently amount to about $1 billion, if Jakarta establishes diplomatic relations with Israel.

"We are talking to Indonesia about this … if they are ready for it, we will be happy to provide them with financial support that is greater than what we actually offer now."

The US official said he would not be surprised if the aid provided by the agency to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, increases by one or two billion dollars if Jakarta establishes diplomatic relations with Israel.

A growing number of countries in the MENA region are normalising ties with Israel - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

A growing number of countries in the MENA region are normalising ties with Israel – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

US and Israeli leaders say that they expect more countries to join the wave of normalisation which began in August with the announcement that the UAE had agreed to sign a peace deal with the occupation state. This was quickly followed by Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.

READ: Oman welcomes Morocco, Israel normalisation

The United States hopes that Oman and Saudi Arabia will sign similar deals in the future, although Buehler said it is not likely that USAID will provide assistance to the two countries because the rules do not allow the agency to invest in high-income countries.

Late last month Indonesia reaffirmed its firm support for Palestinian independence.

A non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, Indonesia presents one of its main goals on the council as dealing with the Palestinian question. It has had no formal relations with the occupation state of Israel since it was formed on Palestinian land in 1948. In support of Palestine, Jakarta issued a tax exemption on Palestinian imports.

In turn, Israel has taken soft measures against Indonesia such as banning tourists from the country but has made overtures towards it in recent years in order to influence the process of normalisation.

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Asia & AmericasIndonesiaIsraelMiddle EastNewsPalestineUS
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