Bahrain joined the United Arab Emirates in agreeing to normalise relations with Israel yesterday.
US President Donald Trump tweeted the news after he spoke by phone to Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifah and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House said.
“This is truly a historic day,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, saying that he believed other countries would follow suit.
“Opening direct dialogue and ties between these two dynamic societies and advanced economies will continue the positive transformation of the Middle East and increase stability, security, and prosperity in the region,” the United States, Bahrain and Israel said in a joint statement.
A month ago, the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalise ties with Israel under a US-brokered deal which is scheduled to be signed at a White House ceremony hosted by Trump on Sept 15.
The joint statement said Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani would join that ceremony and sign a “historic Declaration of Peace” with Netanyahu.
Palestinians were dismayed, fearing the moves by the UAE and now Bahrain will weaken a long-standing pan-Arab position that calls for Israeli withdrawal from occupied territory and acceptance of Palestinian statehood in return for normal relations with Arab countries.
A statement issued in the name of the Palestinian leadership condemned the agreement as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
“The Palestinian leadership rejects this step taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain and calls on it to immediately retreat from it due to the great harm it causes to the inalienable national rights of the Palestinian people and joint Arab action,” the statement said.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said the Palestinian ambassador to Bahrain was called back for consultations.
In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said Bahrain’s decision to normalise relations with Israel “represents a grave harm to the Palestinian cause, and it supports the occupation.”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry yesterday strongly condemned the decision by Bahrain to establish diplomatic ties with Israel, adding it will deal a fresh blow to efforts to defend the Palestinian cause.
“It will further encourage Israel to continue illegitimate practices towards Palestine and its efforts to make the occupation of Palestinian lands permanent,” the ministry statement said.
Jordan’s foreign minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement yesterday, that the necessary steps to achieve a fair and comprehensive peace in the region should come from Israel.
The minister added, after the announcement of a normalisation of ties between Israel and Bahrain, Israel should stop all its procedures to undermine the two-states solution, and end the illegal occupation of the Palestinian lands.
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