MANAMA: An Israeli delegation with the US Treasury Secretary arrived in Bahrain on Sunday to formalize new ties and expand Gulf cooperation that Washington has promoted as an anti-Iranian palace and a potential economic bonus.
Bahrain, which last month agreed with the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations with Israel, is shocking the Palestinians who demanded the state before such a regional compromise.
The turning point, overseen by US President Donald Trump, is a foreign policy before he is re-elected next month. As for the US allies, this is an opportunity to close the gap on Iran more openly.
He was accompanied by US Treasury Secretary Steve Munuchin on the Israeli delegation that flew on an El Al Israel Airlines charter flight from Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has publicly told his cabinet that the delegates will work on cooperation agreements and the “establishment of a peace agreement.”
At a White House ceremony on September 15, Israel and Bahrain signed a “Declaration of Peace, Cooperation and Creative Diplomatic and Friendly Relations”, a lack of a formal agreement.
At a ceremony before the departure of Munich, US Ambassador to the Middle East Avi Bergowitz said that Israel and Bahrain would sign a joint statement “presenting tourism and banking and diplomatic relations.”
Speaking to reporters on the El Al flight, Munich said, “I think this opportunity is more than just an investment. “It’s in technology, creating a variety of businesses – in the case of Bahrain, expanding the opportunities for them in a very dramatic way.”
Munuchin said the Trump administration has been trying to secure more such deals for Israel ahead of the US election, and that he hopes the process will continue no matter who wins the election.
Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Sabat spoke in Arabic at a reception at Manama Airport: “This is a great day … InshaAllah (God willing), we look forward to hosting you in Israel soon.”
Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdulladif al-Sayani described the engagement and cooperation as “the most effective, most sustainable means of bringing about a real and lasting peace that will protect the rights of the people of the Middle East.”
However, the signing of the declaration caused outrage among Bahrainis at home and abroad. Bahrain, which is ruled by a Sunni Muslim minority with a Shia majority, has said the deal protects its interests from Iran.
El al Flight 973, which adopted Bahrain’s phone code, flew over Saudi Arabia, the headquarters of the Gulf Authority, which has so far opposed US appeals to normalize relations with Israel.
Munuchin and other U.S. officials travel to the United Arab Emirates on Monday, where the deal with Israel does not include bilateral trade.
Released at dawn on October 19, 2020