REPORT: Indonesia, World’s Most Populous Muslim Country, To Recognize Israel For OECD Bid

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, is planning to formally recognize Israel as a sovereign country after months of negotiations, Ynet reported Thursday.

Indonesia‘s establishment of formal diplomatic ties with Israel is part of an alleged deal where Jerusalem accedes to Jakarta’s request to join the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the outlet noted. The recognition would mean that both countries commit toward opening embassies in each other’s respective countries and would potentially ease any travel and trade restrictions that exist.

OECD is an organization founded in 1960 that advises “governments on policies that support resilient, inclusive and sustainable growth,” according to the organization’s website. (RELATED: Hamas Admits It May Not Have Enough Living Hostages For Ceasefire Deal With Israel)

“I am pleased to announce the Council has officially agreed to the clear and explicit early conditions according to which Indonesia must establish diplomatic relations with all OECD member countries before any decision is made to admit it to the OECD,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann wrote to Israel’s foreign minister in a letter two weeks ago, Ynet reported. “Furthermore, any future decision to accept Indonesia as a member of the organization will require unanimous agreement among all member countries, including Israel. I am convinced that this provides you with assurance at this crucial point.”

An OECD document on the roadmap for Indonesia’s bid to join the organization that was adopted on March 29 noted that prospective candidates to join the organization “are expected to demonstrate … like-mindedness in their statements and actions in their relations with the Organisation and its Members.”

Indonesia already has trade relations with Israel that amounts to roughly $500 million per year, The Times of Israel noted. But Indonesia has traditionally argued that it will only fully normalize its ties with Israel when a Palestinian state is established, the outlet reported.

Pro-Palestinian sentiment is common among Indonesians, the outlet noted. The country joined South Africa’s court case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that argued Israel was committing genocide in Gaza and filed its own case against Israel back in January, The Times of Israel reported.

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, numbering some 229.6 million Muslims in 2021, according to World Population Review.