Viewing cable 06JAKARTA8622
Title: INDONESIA - MODEST TRADE OPENING WITH ISRAEL

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
06JAKARTA86222006-07-10 12:05:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Jakarta
VZCZCXRO3974
RR RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHJA #8622/01 1911205
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 101205Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY JAKARTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7004
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS
RUEHJA/ISLAMIC CONFERENCE COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3516
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 3691
RUEHTV/AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV 0185
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 9899
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 0039
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 JAKARTA 008622 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/09/2016 
TAGS: AADP ETRD ETTC PREL ID
SUBJECT: INDONESIA - MODEST TRADE OPENING WITH ISRAEL 
 
Classified By: Economic Counselor William Heidt; Reasons 1.4 (b) and (d 
) 
 
¶1. (C) Summary.  In the first initiative of its kind, 
Chairman of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry 
(KADIN) Mohammed Hidayat led a 12-person delegation of 
Indonesian Christian and Muslim business representatives to 
Israel June 25-29.  The group met several senior Israeli 
Government officials, including Foreign Minister Livni and 
Directors General at the Foreign and Trade Ministries. 
Hidayat signed an agreement with the Israeli Manufacturer's 
Association (IMA) on June 27 calling for facilitating 
information sharing and joint business projects between the 
two countries.  A senior Kadin official told us on July 3 
that several modest follow-up activities are in the works, 
including possible Israeli participation in a November 2006 
infrastructure forum in Jakarta, a possible agricultural 
development project between the Indonesian Muslim mass 
organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU) and an Israeli firm, and a 
possible invitation from NU to Israeli religious scholars for 
discussions of interfaith issues.  NU's willingness to 
participate in the mission during a period of heightened 
political tensions in Israel and the Palestinian territories 
demonstrates again its moderate political stance.  Domestic 
Indonesian press reporting on the visit has been surprisingly 
low-key.  End Summary. 
 
First Time Business Mission to Israel 
------------------------------------- 
 
¶2. (C) John Prasetio, Chairman of Kadin's International 
Department, briefed us on July 3 about the June 25-29 Kadin 
business mission to Israel.  Prasetio, a Chinese-Indonesian 
Christian, told us he arranged the visit with the assistance 
of Israeli Ambassador to Singapore Ilan Ben-Dov, whom he met 
on two occasions.  Chairman of Kadin and Golkar Member of 
Parliament Mohammed S. Hidayat led the mission.  Other 
prominent participants included former Minister of Trade and 
Industry Luhut Pandjaitan; Kadin Vice President and wealthy 
Indonesian businessman Chris Kanter; Tata Susila "Maxi" 
Gunawan, the "financial backer" of current State Secretary 
and former President of the Crescent Star Party (PBB) Yusril 
Mahendra; Zuhairi Bin Misrawi, program officer at the 
NU-linked "Indonesian Society for Pesantren and Community 
Development (P3M), and Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, President of 
the Young Indonesian Entrepreneurs' Association (HIPMI).  In 
press remarks following the group's return to Indonesia, 
Hidayat said the visit was for business purposes only and 
that his delegation undertook the trip in response to an 
invitation from the IMA. 
 
¶3. (C) Neither Kadin nor the Government of Indonesia (GOI) 
announced the trip in advance and no journalists traveled 
with the group, facts that illustrate the continuing 
political sensitivity in Indoensia of expanding relations 
with Israel.  Prasetio said he briefed Foreign Minister 
Hassan Wirajuda prior to the trip, who responded that 
although the Foreign Ministry had no objection, neither would 
it endorse the trip.  Presidential advisor Yenny Wahid had 
been scheduled to participate in the mission, Prasetio said, 
but had backed out when President Yudhoyono appeared 
"reticent" when told of her plan to join the delegation. 
Similarly, NU's rival Muslim mass organization Muhammadiyah 
backed out of the mission at the last minute.  According to 
Prasetio, prominent Indonesian businessman James Riady 
financed the travel of the NU participants as an inducement 
for them to participate. 
 
¶4. (C) Prasetio said the group was received warmly in Israel, 
meeting briefly with Foreign Minister Livni on two occasions 
and holding more substantive sessions with Directors General 
at the Trade and Foreign Ministries.  The group also received 
a briefing by the Mossad, which not surprisingly, described 
Iran and Iraq as Israel's top security concerns.  Prasetio 
noted that the mission had faced a few challenges--he said 
delegation leader Hidayat was critical until the final day of 
the visit, and refused to attend a meeting scheduled with a 
Muslim member of the Knesset. 
 
Modest Follow Up Activities Planned 
----------------------------------- 
 
¶5. (SBU) Prasetio described several modest follow up 
activities that may flow out of the visit.  He said Kadin 
would likely invite Israeli companies to participate in the 
planned November 2006 "Indonesia Infrastructure Conference" 
 
JAKARTA 00008622  002 OF 002 
 
 
which Kadin will organize with the Coordinating Ministry for 
Economic Affairs.  In addition, Prasetio said the NU and an 
Israeli agribusiness firm with experience in water-drip 
technology may cooperate on an agricultural development 
project in Eastern Indonesia, where rainfall is scarce. 
Finally, the NU may invite Israeli religious scholars to 
visit Indonesia for discussions of interfaith issues. 
Delegation member Zuhairi Bin Misrawi of the NU has 
participated in several international programs on religious 
pluralism, including at least one sponsored by the Department 
of State. 
 
¶6. (SBU) Indonesians may travel to Israel with regular 
passports but Indonesia does not have formal diplomatic 
relations with Israel.  Prasetio estimated that informal 
trade with Israel amounted to about USD 150 million in 2005, 
most of which was Indonesian exports to Israel of 
agricultural products such as rubber.  Israeli exports to 
Indonesia, estimated about USD 14 million, consist mostly of 
chemicals and electronics.  The Jerusalem Post quoted the IMA 
President as stating that the agreement could increase 
two-way trade to USD 600 million by 2010. 
 
Comment: Limited Press Blowback 
------------------------------- 
 
¶7. (C) Despite the hush-hush preparations for the visit, we 
have been struck by the very limited reaction in the 
Indonesian press now that the Kadin mission has become 
public.  Although a handful of Indonesian dailies have 
published articles that included some criticism of the 
mission, press coverage has been reasonably balanced and the 
story is fading fast.  Another noteworthy facet of the trip 
was NU's willingness to participate, a fact that underscores 
to us the organization's continued, moderate approach to 
political issues involving religion. 
PASCOE