Last weekend, Israel prevented Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi from entering the West Bank to attend the inauguration of the Indonesian Honorary Consul to Palestine in Ramallah, after she refused to pay an official visit to Jerusalem. In an email interview, Emanuel Shahaf, CEO of Technology Asia Consulting and vice chairman of the Israel-Indonesia Chamber of Commerce, discusses Israeli-Indonesian political and economic ties.
WPR: What are the extent of Israel’s trade and political ties with Indonesia, and how institutionalized are current informal ties?
Emanuel Shahaf: Bilateral trade is nominally valued at around $200 million, with roughly 80 percent made up of Indonesian commodities exports, and the rest by Israeli exports, mostly of technology products. The real value is closer to $500 million, similarly distributed, with the difference caused by trade being conducted through third countries. Direct Israeli exports are roughly only $25 million, testifying to the ongoing logistical and bureaucratic difficulties that continue to burden direct commercial ties, even though they have been completely legal since 2001.