IIsrael and Bahrain signed a communiqué formalizing diplomatic relations at a ceremony in Manama. The signing took place on Sunday during a visit by senior officials from Israel and the United States to the capital of the Gulf State of Bahrain.
Previously, an Israeli and an American delegation traveled together on Sunday. The machine of the Israeli airline El Al took off in the morning from Tel Aviv towards Manama, as confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. The flight was number 973 – like Bahrain’s country code.
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Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Sajani received the delegation upon arrival in Manama. “We are convinced that our next step will lead to real and lasting peace that upholds the rights of the people in the Middle East,” said Al-Sajani. He described the visit as “historic”. The US delegation was headed by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, while the Israeli delegation was led by Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabat.
Israel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain signed historic agreements in Washington in mid-September on the establishment of diplomatic relations. Mnuchin spoke to reporters on Sunday of the “most extraordinary result in the past 25 years” in the Arab world. The economic opportunities of the three states are “enormous”.
Few Arab countries recognize Israel diplomatically
Of the Arab countries, only Egypt and Jordan have had diplomatic contacts with Israel so far. After the official establishment of diplomatic relations, Israel and Bahrain can now open embassies in the other country.
Saudi Arabia reacted cautiously to the agreements. However, the kingdom has released its airspace for flight connections between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain.
In return for the agreement with the Emirates, the Israeli government wants to suspend the annexation of areas in the occupied West Bank that the Palestinians claim for their own state. The Arab states have so far pursued the approach of making a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians a condition for normalizing relations with Israel. The Palestinians therefore feel betrayed by the latest agreements. Al-Sajani reiterated the call for a two-state solution on Sunday.