Bahrain turns into newest Arab nation to acknowledge Israel

WASHINGTON: Bahrain on Friday agreed to normalize relations with Israel, changing into the newest Arab nation to take action as a part of a broader diplomatic push by President Donald Trump and his administration to additional ease the Jewish state’s relative isolation within the Center East and discover widespread floor with nations that share US wariness of Iran.
Trump introduced the settlement on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist assaults following a telephone name he had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain‘s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The three leaders additionally issued a short joint assertion marking the second such Arab normalization settlement with Israel up to now two months.
The announcement got here lower than per week earlier than Trump hosts a White Home ceremony to mark the institution of full relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, one thing that Trump and his Center East staff brokered in August. Bahrain‘s overseas minister will attend that occasion and signal a separate settlement with Netanyahu.
“There is not any extra highly effective response to the hatred that spawned 9/11 than this settlement,” Trump instructed reporters on the White Home.
Friday’s settlement is one other diplomatic win for Trump lower than two months earlier than the presidential election and a chance to shore up help amongst pro-Israel evangelical Christians. Along with the UAE deal, Trump simply final week introduced agreements in precept for Kosovo to acknowledge Israel and for Serbia to maneuver its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
However, it’s a setback for Palestinian leaders, who’ve urged Arab nations to withhold recognition till they’ve secured an impartial state. The Palestinians have seen a gentle erosion in once-unified Arab help _ one of many few playing cards they nonetheless held as leverage towards Israel _ since Trump started pursuing an unabashedly pro-Israel agenda.
“That is one other stab at the back of the Palestinian trigger, the Palestinian individuals and their rights,” mentioned Wasel Abu Yousef, a senior Palestinian official. “It’s a betrayal of Jerusalem and the Palestinians … We see completely no justification for this free normalization with Israel.”
Of their joint assertion, Trump, Netanyahu and King Hamad known as the settlement “a historic breakthrough to additional peace within the Center East.”
“Opening direct dialogue and ties between these two dynamic societies and superior economies will proceed the constructive transformation of the Center East and improve stability, safety, and prosperity within the area,” they mentioned.
Just like the UAE settlement, the Bahrain-Israel deal will normalize diplomatic, business, safety and different relations between the 2 international locations. Bahrain, together with Saudi Arabia, had already dropped a prohibition on Israeli flights utilizing its airspace. Saudi acquiescence to the agreements has been thought-about key to the offers.
Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner famous that the settlement is the second Israel has reached with an Arab nation in 30 days after having made peace with solely two Arab nations _ Egypt and Jordan _ in 72 years of its independence.
“That is very quick,” Kushner instructed The Related Press. “The area is responding very favorably to the UAE deal and hopefully it is a signal that much more will come.”
Netanyahu thanked Trump. “It took us 26 years between the second peace settlement with an Arab nation and the third, however solely 29 days between the third and the fourth, and there might be extra,” he mentioned, referring to the 1994 peace treaty with Jordan and the newer agreements.
Bahrain‘s overseas ministry welcomed the deal and mentioned that Hamad had praised US efforts to determine safety and stability within the Center East, in keeping with the official information company. Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, a outstanding Bahraini adviser to the king and the previous longtime overseas minister, wrote on Twitter that the settlement boosts the area’s safety and prosperity.
“It sends a constructive and inspiring message to the individuals of Israel {that a} simply and complete peace with the Palestinian individuals is one of the best path and is within the true curiosity of their future and the way forward for the individuals within the area,” he wrote.
In a nod to the Palestinians, the joint assertion mentioned the events will proceed efforts “to realize a simply, complete, and enduring decision to the Israeli-Palestinian battle to allow the Palestinian individuals to understand their full potential.”
The settlement makes Bahrain the fourth Arab nation, after Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, to have full diplomatic ties with Israel. Different Arab nations believed to be on the cusp of absolutely recognizing Israel embody Oman and Sudan. The area’s energy participant, Saudi Arabia might also be near a deal.
Just like the UAE, Bahrain has by no means fought a struggle towards Israel and would not share a border with it. However Bahrain, like many of the Arab world, had lengthy rejected diplomatic ties with Israel within the absence of a Palestinian peace deal. And, though the Israeli-UAE deal required Israel to halt contentious plans to annex occupied West Financial institution land sought by the Palestinians, the Bahrain settlement consists of no such concessions.
Whereas the UAE’s inhabitants stays small and the federation has no custom of standing as much as the nation’s autocracy, Bahrain represents a far-different nation.
Simply off the coast of Saudi Arabia, the island of Bahrain is among the many world’s smallest international locations, solely about 760 sq. kilometers (290 sq. miles). Bahrain‘s location within the Persian Gulf lengthy has made it a buying and selling cease and a naval defensive place. The island is residence to the US Navy’s fifth Fleet and a not too long ago constructed British naval base.
Bahrain is conscious about threats posed by Iran, an anxiousness that comes from Bahrain‘s majority Shiite inhabitants, regardless of being dominated since 1783 by the Sunni Al Khalifa household. Iran underneath Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi had pushed to take over the island after the British left, although Bahrainis in 1970 overwhelmingly supported changing into an impartial nation and the U.N. Safety Council unanimously backed that.
Since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, Bahrain‘s rulers have blamed Iran for arming militants on the island. Iran denies the accusations. Bahrain‘s Shiite majority has accused the federal government of treating them like second-class residents. The Shiites joined pro-democracy activists in demanding extra political freedoms in 2011, as Arab Spring protests swept throughout the broader Center East. Saudi and Emirati troops finally helped violently put down the demonstrations.
Lately, Bahrain has cracked down on all dissent, imprisoned activists and hampered impartial reporting on the island. Whereas the Obama administration halted the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Bahrain over human rights issues, the Trump administration dropped that.

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