L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
Photo: AFP
L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House

Israel hopes for rapprochement with 5th Muslim country before Trump exit

Minister Ofir Akunis tells Ynet he believes another nation will go public with normalization of ties before Jan. 20; Bloomberg reports Washington has conditioned Indonesia's aid package on forming relations with Jerusalem

Reuters, Ynet |
Published: 12.23.20, 13:38
Israel is working towards formalizing relations with a fifth Muslim country during U.S. President Donald Trump's term, which ends next month, an Israeli government minister told Ynet on Wednesday.
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  • The White House has brokered rapprochements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco this year, with Morocco hosting an Israeli-U.S. delegation on Tuesday to flesh out the upgrade in relations.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    L-R: Bahrain FM Abdullatif al-Zayani, PM Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Donald Trump, and Emirati FM Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan at the signing of the Abraham Accords at the White House
    (Photo: AFP)
    Asked if a fifth country could sign up before Trump steps down on Jan 20, Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis said: "We are working in that direction."
    "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.
    He declined to name the country but said there were two main candidates. One is in the Gulf, he said, giving Oman as a possibility while adding that Saudi Arabia is not.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    אופיר אקוניס
    אופיר אקוניס
    Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis
    (Photo: Kobi Koankas)
    The other candidate appears to be further to the east. "A Muslim country that is not small, but is not Pakistan," Akunis said.
    In the meantime, Bloomberg news agency on Tuesday reported the Trump administration has offered Indonesia a $2 billion increase in the financial aid it receives from the U.S. in return for normalizing ties with the Jewish state.
    “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,” Adam Boehler, CEO of U.S. International Development Finance Corporation told Bloomberg.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
     ג'וקו וידודו נשיא אינדונזיה
     ג'וקו וידודו נשיא אינדונזיה
    Indonesian President Joko Widodo
    (Photo: AP)
    Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, said last week it would not recognize Israel as long as Palestinian statehood demands remain unmet.
    Palestinians fear the normalization of ties with Israel by other Arab states will weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position calling for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
    I24NEWS contributed to this report
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