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Indonesia said it has not yet considered establishing diplomatic relations with the new Israeli government, according to an official in Jakarta on Monday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to Israeli Ambassador to Singapore Sagi Karni’s statement that Tel Aviv is willing to work with Southeast Asia’s Muslim majority nations to establish ties.

“(Peace is) Indonesia’s main focus at this time, and we hope for the revival of the peace process,” said Abdul Kadir Jailani, the ministry’s Director General of Asia Pacific and Africa.

Karni’s statement, which claimed that the true nature of the conflict is between Israel and Hamas and not the Palestinian people, is an attempt to distort the facts, he commented.

Jailani stressed that the root of the Israeli-Palestinian problem is the occupation and expropriation of Palestinian rights and land.

“This is very clear. These facts have been well established since decades ago,” he said. “As the root of the problem is colonialism, Indonesia believes that the only way (to resolve it) is to respect the rights of the Palestinian people according to international parameters.”

Expressing his optimism that dialogue and peace will be possible if Palestinians’ rights are fulfilled, Jailani said Indonesia will continue to garner international support for Palestine in various forums in the future.

Earlier on Thursday, Karni told local media outlet Jerusalem Post that Israel is keen to work towards establishing ties with Southeast Asia’s Muslim majority nations.

“We are willing to talk, we are willing to meet, and the door is open as far as we are concerned. I don’t think it’s so difficult to find us,” the daily quoted him as saying.

Peace process under new premier harder

Jailani also anticipated that the peace process between Israel and Palestine will be harder under new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Bennet is well-known for his opposition to the idea of a Palestinian state and his strong support for the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

“As we know, the political direction of the new Israeli government is quite tough, especially regarding the idea of a two-state solution and the construction of illegal settlements,” said Jailani.

To a question, he said the change in leadership has no direct impact on Indonesia because the country does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.

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