Trump announces Bahrain will normalize ties with Israel just one month after the UAE agreed on peace


On Friday, Bahrain became the fourth Arab nation to agree to normalize ties with Israel, after Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, according to Al Jazeera. ~

According to AP News, this deal was part of a broader diplomatic push by the Trump administration to further ease Israel’s relative isolation in the Middle East and find common ground with nations that share U.S. wariness of Iran. Trump announced the agreement on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, following a phone call he had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The three leaders also issued a brief joint statement, calling the agreement “a historic breakthrough to further peace in the Middle East.” ~

According to Al Jazeera, the agreement comes only a month after the United Arab Emirates became the first Gulf Arab country to reach a deal on normalizing relations with Israel, capping years of discreet contacts between the two countries in commerce and technology. Bahrain had been expected by many to be the next country to establish relations with Israel. Earlier this month, Bahrain announced that it was opening its airspace to Israeli flights, according to Times of Israel. Like the UAE, Bahrain has never fought a war against Israel and does not share a border with it. But Bahrain, like most of the Arab world, had long rejected diplomatic ties with Israel in the absence of a Palestinian peace deal. Although the Israeli-UAE deal required Israel to halt plans to annex occupied West Bank land sought by the Palestinians, the Bahrain agreement includes no such concessions. Other Arab nations believed to be on the cusp of fully recognizing Israel include Oman and Sudan. ~

The peace deal has elicited reactions throughout the Arab World. According to Al Jazeera, the UAE welcomed the decision, with its foreign ministry releasing a statement: “The move represents a significant step towards an era of security and prosperity … (and) would expand the scope of economic, cultural, scientific, and diplomatic avenues of cooperation.” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said on Twitter that the agreement would help establish “stability and peace in the Middle East, in a way that achieves a just and permanent settlement of the Palestinian issue.” ~

However, according to the Jerusalem Post, the Palestinian Authority leadership on Friday strongly condemned and rejected Bahrain’s decision to establish relations with Israel. The PA Foreign Ministry announced that it has decided to immediately recall its ambassador to Bahrain for consultations. “This is another stab in the back of the Palestinian cause, the Palestinian people and their rights,” said Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior Palestinian official. “It is a betrayal of Jerusalem and the Palestinians … We see absolutely no justification for this free normalization with Israel.” ~


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