The Abraham Accords brought together a coalition of the bribed and coerced, specifically autocratic Arab and African regimes willing to normalize their relations with the state of Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people.  In exchange, the coalition members were offered a combination of US brokered incentives, including access to US weaponry and surveillance technology, recognition of territorial claims, debt forgiveness, and end to diplomatic sanctions.

These sell-outs include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Oman, Morocco, and Sudan, all of which are Muslim majority countries. The respective rulers of each nation have defied the popular will of their peoples in throwing the Palestinians and the status of Islam’s third holiest site — al Aqsa Mosque — to the proverbial wolves.

According to recent statements made by US and Israeli officials, Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country and third largest democracy with more than 220 million citizens, is next in line to be persuaded to normalize the apartheid Israeli regime and join the dubious alliance.

Blinken raised the issue of normalizing relations with Israel during his visit to Indonesia.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on December 23, 2021 that he raised the issue of normalizing relations with Israel during his visit to Indonesia 10 days earlier. Moreover, an Israeli diplomat reportedly met with Indonesia’s Defense Minister at an international event in Bahrain a month earlier.

Subsequently, on January 4, the Israeli news outlet i24NEWS claimed a high-ranking Israeli Foreign Ministry official had confirmed Israel and Indonesia are “working behind the scenes” towards normalizing relations.

Although a week later, on January 11, the Indonesian Foreign Ministry’s director for Middle Eastern Affairs, Bagus Hendraning Kobarsyih, tried to temper growing concerns among the Indonesian public by declaring that his country will never accept the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories.

[Abraham Accords, One Year Later: The Palestinian Question Still Matters]

[Saudi Arabia Turns Its Back on the Abraham Accords]

“We continue to support a two-state solution in accordance with international parameters,” Kobarsyih said, adding, “We are still focused on how [Palestine] may get its independence.”

Despite these tepid denials, however, it’s reasonable to say the United States has a certain knack for getting its way. Indeed, Washington has the full power and weight of both the US Treasury and military-industrial-complex, along with institutions designed to help the US project soft power far from its own shores.

In a December 2020 interview, Adam Boehler, a top Trump administration official and CEO of the US International Development Finance Cooperation, said Indonesia could potentially receive upwards of $2 billion in additional development assistance if Jakarta “formalized” ties with Israel.

“We’re talking to them about it,” said Boehler. “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.”

The Jerusalem Post predicted on December 30, 2021 that “The next Abraham Accords will be with Indonesia.”

Given these statements, it’s hardly surprising the Jerusalem Post predicted on December 30, 2021 that “The next Abraham Accords will be with Indonesia.” The newspaper points to warming diplomatic relations and trade between the two countries, which now exceeds $500 million per year.

“This is Indonesia’s strategic calling, and its leaders know this. That is why the next Abraham Accord will be signed between the world’s largest Muslim domain, and only Jewish state,” reads an excerpt from the article, which only reflects Israel’s desperate desire to be broadly accepted as a legitimate state by the Muslim world.

But Indonesia is one of 30 countries that do not recognize the state of Israel, and it’s not like the Indonesian people are in any rush to change this status, since fewer than 10 percent of the population view Israel favorably, according to a poll conducted by BBC several years ago.

Negative views towards Israel are not only shaped by sympathy and support for the Palestinian people, but also rooted in hostility towards European colonialism. Indeed, millions of Indonesians are old enough to remember the cruelty of Dutch colonial rule, which spanned three centuries before nationalists rose up in 1949 to overthrow the Dutch.

While there have always been tensions between the country’s secular-democratic nationalists and political Islamists, particularly in regard to its national political identity, Indonesia’s highest clerical body — the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) — stated in December 2020 that Indonesia “must remain consistent in its identity as a nation that rejects colonizers.”

Indonesia “must remain consistent in its identity as a nation that rejects colonizers.”

To that end, while Indonesian President Joko Widodo, known fondly as “Jokowi,” might be tempted to accept the Abraham Accords under the promise of additional US development aid and military assistance, his leadership and legitimacy are being tested by the broadening appeal of Islamist political parties in recent years. These have been quick to remind him of the promise he made when he first ran for the presidency in 2014, when calling on the Palestinian people to “maintain their sovereignty from Israeli colonialism.”

Last year, Syed Huzaifah Bin Othman Alkaff, an associate research fellow at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, summarized the Jokowi government’s calculus and widespread political sentiment.

“Whatever Indonesia stands to gain [from normalizing ties with Israel] must outweigh or at least address possible violent counter pressures from its population,” Alkaff said. “Domestic radical Islamist elements will feature strongly in Indonesia’s decision-making on issues pertaining to relations with Israel,” he added.

Unquestionably, Indonesia joining the Abraham Accords would deliver a decisive death blow to Palestinian aspirations for an independent state, because it would signal acceptance and normalization of the Israeli occupation by roughly 200 million Muslims. After all, democracies represent the popular will of the people, at least in theory, and Indonesia is the world’s third largest democracy.

“I am sure Indonesia will reject that, and, as I understand it, as long as the Palestinian people are under occupation, Indonesia will not change its position,” said Zuhair al-Shun, the Palestinian Ambassador to Indonesia, at an event held in Jakarta on January 10.

While his comments give cause for optimism among the Palestinian population, the shadow of US dollars and weapons looms ever large, like always.