Are Mauritania and Indonesia the Next Friends of Israel?

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration broke news that they were closing in on agreements with Mauritania and Indonesia as the next two Muslim countries to normalize relations with Israel. They ran out of time to complete the deals before he left office today, The Times of Israel learned from two U.S. officials. The administration believed they were just weeks away from securing a deal with Mauritania, which had become the third Arab League nation to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel in 1999, though those relations were broken during the 2008–2009 Gaza War. Officials also believed a deal with Indonesia, the largest Muslim country (270 million people), could have been completed in another month or two of a Trump presidency. Oman and Saudi Arabia had begun preliminary discussions with the U.S. about normalization with Israel, too, though nothing was nearly as imminent with them. U.S. President Joe Biden, who was inaugurated today, has expressed support for the Abraham Accords, though his administration is more likely to prioritize the response to the pandemic in terms of health and economy.

It never stops being encouraging to see more countries open themselves to peace talks with Israel. Rather than feeling disappointed by lost opportunities to have included these nations in the Abraham Accords already, I’m optimistic that these can still come to fruition. It sounds like most of the legwork is already finished in the talks with Mauritania and Indonesia, so hopefully patience and hammering out a few more details are all that remains for them to agree to peace with Israel. It feels like this is just a continued part of the chain reaction that began when the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the original agreement with Israel in September. We live in an exciting time for Israel. Don’t take these deals for granted!