Although Indonesia’s foreign minister refused to meet senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem on a recent visit to the region, the two countries continue to maintain unofficial diplomatic ties.
Israel and Indonesia have secret, unofficial diplomatic ties, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely stated Wednesday in the Knesset, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Israel recently denied Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi access to the Palestinian Authority (PA) via Israel over her refusal to visit Israeli officials in Jerusalem.
Responding to a parliamentary question from Arab-Israeli Member of Knesset Ahmed Tibi regarding this decision, Hotovely said that despite the lack of formal diplomatic ties between the two countries, Mark Sofer, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general in the Asia-Pacific division, recently visited Jakarta, where Israeli and Indonesian officials came to an understanding that Marsudi would meet with senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem during her visit to the region.
“It was the Foreign Minister of Indonesia’s decision to violate that understanding, and she understood that, by her action of skipping Jerusalem, she is going against the rules Israel set for official visits to the PA and Israel,” Hotovely stated.
In fact, this is the procedure for all foreign officials, Hotovely explained. Nevertheless, Israel and Indonesia enjoy “continuous contact,” and Israel is working on improving the relationship.
‘Israel-Asia Ties Are Getting Stronger and Stronger’
“We’re seeing growth in our ties with Asia like never before, even though the Palestinian Authority and its leader are doing all it can to prevent the development of these relations,” she stated. “Israel-Asia ties are getting stronger and stronger.”
Tibi, known for his pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel activism – last year, for example, he flew a Palestinian flag over the Temple Mount, advocating against any Israeli presence at Judaism’s holiest site – responded: “A country with no ties to Israel, one of the biggest Muslim countries in the world, wants to enter the PA and meet with PA leaders. Why are you involved? [The PA] is a country recognized in the UN; the whole world recognizes it. Maybe this is a situation of foreign rule that must end.”
“We are not a foreign regime,” Hotovely replied. “We are here as the legitimate government in the land of the Jewish People, in which there is an Arab minority with equal rights. You represent that minority.”
Regarding Marsudi, “the respectable thing to do when there are secret ties, like those between Israel and Indonesia, is to respect the code. When you break it, don’t be surprised that you’re preventing yourself from visiting the PA.”