Muscat Daily

Is­rael, Bahrain for­malise diplo­matic ties

Is­rael’s nor­mal­i­sa­tion deals with the UAE and Bahrain have out­raged the Pales­tini­ans for ob­vi­ous rea­sons

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Jerusalem - Is­rael and Bahrain are of­fi­cially es­tab­lish­ing diplo­matic re­la­tions on Sun­day at a cer­e­mony in Manama as the wealthy Gulf re­gion con­tin­ues to open up to the Jewish state.

An Is­raeli del­e­ga­tion ar­rived from Tel Aviv for a one-day trip that will see Is­rael and Bahrain for­malise a US-bro­kered agree­ment they signed at the White House on Septem­ber 15.

The United Arab Emi­rates and Bahrain be­came only the third and fourth Arab states to agree to nor­malise ties with Is­rael, fol­low­ing Is­rael’s 1979 peace deal with Egypt and a 1994 pact with Jor­dan.

A flurry of diplo­macy be­tween some of Wash­ing­ton’s key re­gional al­lies has handed US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump a key for­eign pol­icy win as he cam­paigns for re-elec­tion ahead of polls in Novem­ber.

Bahrain and Is­rael will ink a ‘joint com­mu­nique (that) is the es­tab­lish­ment of full diplo­matic re­la­tions’, an of­fi­cial from the Is­raeli side, led by Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil chief Meir Ben Shab­bat, told re­porters in Manama.

US Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s spe­cial as­sis­tant for in­ter­na­tional ne­go­ti­a­tions, Avi Berkowitz, trav­elled

to Tel Aviv be­fore join­ing the Is­raeli del­e­ga­tion’s flight to Manama.

“Bahrain is ob­vi­ously very tied to the Saudi econ­omy and this

gives them, I’m sure, an even broader vi­sion,” Mnuchin told re­porters on the Is­raeli air­craft which flew over Saudi Ara­bia.

The two sides will be free to

open em­bassies in each other’s coun­tries af­ter a cer­e­mony sched­uled for Sun­day evening, the Is­raeli of­fi­cial said, adding that an Is­raeli Em­bassy in Man

ama could open within months.

“The agree­ment rep­re­sents a his­tor­i­cal step... to achieve se­cu­rity, peace and a flour­ish­ing re­gion,” Bahrain’s For­eign Min­is­ter,

Ab­dul­latif al Zayani, said upon the del­e­ga­tion's ar­rival.

Is­raeli del­e­ga­tion chief Shab­bat said in Ara­bic it was a ‘great day’, adding these re­la­tions will ‘most likely ben­e­fit both sides’.

Be­fore take­off, he said the aim was ‘to trans­late into prac­ti­cal plans and con­crete agree­ments the peace dec­la­ra­tion that was signed on the White House lawn’.

AN IS­RAELI OF­FI­CIAL

The nor­mal­i­sa­tion deals with the UAE and Bahrain have how­ever out­raged the Pales­tini­ans, who have re­peat­edly protested and called on Arab states to main­tain unity against Is­rael.

Like Is­rael, both Manama and Abu Dhabi have ve­he­mently anti-Iran for­eign poli­cies and Tehran has slammed the nor­mal­i­sa­tion.

The Gulf monar­chies have bro­ken decades of Arab con­sen­sus that there would be no re­la­tions with the Jewish state un­til it had made peace with the Pales­tini­ans.

Bahrain, un­like the UAE, has a his­tory of open pol­i­tics and civil so­ci­ety move­ments, al­though rights have been cur­tailed in the past decade.

In a rare dis­play of dis­sent in the small oil-rich king­dom last month, dozens took to the streets in Abu-Saiba, a Shi­ite vil­lage near Manama, to protest the gov­ern­ment's de­ci­sion.

In the wake of the Arab Spring protests in 2011, the Sunni monar­chy ac­cused thou­sands of dis­si­dents from the Shi­ite ma­jor­ity of re­ceiv­ing or­ders from Iran.

Shab­bat said the visit would fo­cus on ‘fi­nance and in­vest­ments, trade and econ­omy, tourism, avi­a­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, cul­ture, sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy, agri­cul­ture and ad­di­tional is­sues’.

Is­rael said it ex­pected to sign six to eight mem­o­ran­dums of un­der­stand­ing with Bahrain.

The two sides will be free to open em­bassies in each other’s coun­tries af­ter a cer­e­mony sched­uled for Sun­day evening. An Is­raeli Em­bassy in Manama could open within months

 ?? (AFP) ?? The Bahraini, Is­raeli and US flags are placed in front of El Al plane ahead of the flight to Bahrain’s cap­i­tal Manama for a for­mal launch of diplo­matic re­la­tions, at Is­rael’s Ben Gu­rion Air­port near Tel Aviv on Sun­day
(AFP) The Bahraini, Is­raeli and US flags are placed in front of El Al plane ahead of the flight to Bahrain’s cap­i­tal Manama for a for­mal launch of diplo­matic re­la­tions, at Is­rael’s Ben Gu­rion Air­port near Tel Aviv on Sun­day

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