Indonesia may receive $1 b. in US financing if it makes peace with Israel

Israel's Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen has speculated that Indonesia is among those nations that could sign such a deal with Israel.

An aerial picture of Indonesian Muslims offering Eid al-Adha prayers at the Great Mosque of Al-Azhar, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 31, 2020 (photo credit: ANTARA FOTO/MUHAMMAD ADIMAJA/VIA REUTERS)
An aerial picture of Indonesian Muslims offering Eid al-Adha prayers at the Great Mosque of Al-Azhar, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta, Indonesia, July 31, 2020
Indonesia could receive over $1 billion from the Trump administration if it normalizes ties with Israel, US International Development Finance Corporation CEO Adam Boehler told Bloomberg news agency while he was in Israel.
“We’re talking to them about it,” Boehler told the news agency. “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’s government agency, DFC, already invests over $1b. in Indonesia, according to Bloomberg, and he said that this amount could be increased by a further “one or two billion.”
Boehler was part of the US delegation headed by White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner that visited Israel on Monday prior to heading to Morocco on Tuesday to advance the normalization of ties between Rabat and Jerusalem.
His words fueled speculation that Indonesia could be the fifth country to normalize ties with Israel under the rubric of the US-brokered Abraham Accords.
Israeli and US officials have spoken often of additional deals, even in the remaining weeks before the administration of US President Donald Trump leaves the White House on January 20.
On Wednesday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “We will bring about more agreements with Arab countries.”
The essence of the policy that would allow this to happen, he said, is “true peace, peace for peace, peace from strength.”
Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) told the Hebrew news site Ynet that he believes another normalization deal with Israel could be announced in the coming weeks.
“There will be an American announcement about another country that is going public with the normalization of relations with Israel and, in essence, with the infrastructure for an accord – a peace accord,” he said.
Akunis declined to name the Arab or Muslim country, but he dismissed possibilities such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.
He listed Oman in the Gulf as a possible candidate and said that another option further east, was a “Muslim country that is not small” but is not Pakistan.
Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen (Likud) told Army Radio on Wednesday that he believes Israel could arrive at an additional six deals within the next year, but that the possibility that anything would happen in the next month is very low.
Cohen named four countries that could forge ties: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Niger and Mauritania.
The latter had established full diplomatic ties in 1999, but broke them off almost a decade later to protest the Gaza war of December 2008-January 2009. He also spoke of two Asian countries, but he did not name them.
Cohen has, however, named Indonesia in the past as a possible candidate for a deal. The actions of US President-elect Joe Biden are critical to the continuation of the Abraham Accords, Cohen said.
“If Biden will continue with Trump’s policies, with determination against Iran, the No. 1 sponsor of terrorism, continue with the sanctions [against Tehran] and show courage, then we can continue with these deals,” Cohen said.
Morocco is the fourth country to declare the normalization of ties with Israel under the Abraham Accords. Sudan has made a similar declaration. The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain ratified deals with Israel this fall.
The Palestinian Authority has opposed the Abraham Accords, saying that normalized ties with Israel should happen only after the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is resolved. It believes that countries that have signed such deals have betrayed the Palestinian cause.
At the UN Security Council in New York on Monday, Indonesia’s Dian Triansyah Djani said that his country was a strong supporter of the Palestinians.
“We will remain steadfast and unyielding in our support for the Palestinian cause,” he said. “We will continue to fight for the Palestinian cause” because it is a just cause, and support for it “is the right thing to do.”
In Rabat on Tuesday, the DFC announced projects worth $5b. in American investments in Morocco and the region, which were solidified in a memorandum of understanding between the DFC and the Moroccan government.
According to the DFC the US will invest $3b. for projects “in Morocco and in co-investments with Moroccan partners for projects in sub-Saharan Africa.”
In addition, it launched a 2X MENA initiative to “catalyze $1b. of investments in projects that advance women’s economic empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa,” the DFC said in a statement.
DFC also announced that Morocco would be a hub for its “new continent-wide Prosper Africa trade and investment program.”
Boehler, who is executive director of Prosper Africa, said, “Morocco’s leadership on the continent, combined with its vibrant and growing economy, make the country an ideal base for Prosper Africa, as well as to create exciting opportunities for DFC investment.”
He added, “We deeply value our strong relationship with Morocco, and we look forward to deepening this partnership.”
Reuters contributed to this report.