Israel and Bahrain today officially signed the normalization agreement between them, after talks held by a joint Israeli and American delegation in Manama, on the first official visit after the signing of the agreement to normalize relations last month in the United States, while demonstrations took place this evening in Manama, rejecting normalization with Israel.
According to a joint statement between Manama and Tel Aviv, the agreement allows the exchange of ambassadors and embassies, and the two sides have signed trade cooperation agreements in various fields, in addition to the launch of passenger flights.
The signing was attended by high-ranking officials from the Bahraini and Israeli sides, and the King of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and the Prime Minister was absent. Bahrain is the second Gulf country to establish diplomatic relations with Israel after the UAE, and the fourth Arab country after Jordan in 1994, and Egypt in 1979.
The Israeli delegation was headed by Meir Ben Shabat, head of the National Security Council, while the US delegation was headed by Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin. “Today is a great day … I look forward, God willing, to host you in Israel soon,” Bin Shabat said upon arrival at Manama airport, speaking in Arabic. The American minister said that the delegation’s mission aims to establish expanded economic cooperation between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE.
The Israeli and American delegations came to Manama on a direct flight on a plane belonging to the Israeli “El” Airlines that departed from Ben Gurion Airport and crossed Saudi airspace before arriving in Bahrain.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain, Abdul Latif Al-Zayani, welcomed the Israeli and American delegations, and said that “the method of dealing and cooperation is the most effective and sustainable way to achieve a real and lasting peace that protects the rights of the peoples of the Middle East.”
The Bahraini diplomat, Hoda Nono, told reporters that her country plans to reopen the old synagogue in Manama to celebrate the Purim holiday on February 25.
Israel and Bahrain had signed the “Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Diplomatic and Friendly Relationships” during a private ceremony at the White House on the 15th of last September, but this document did not reach the limit of a formal treaty.
The US administration is seeking to conclude more of these normalization agreements with other countries in the Arab region ahead of the presidential elections in the United States, and Minister Mnuchin said that he hopes this process will continue regardless of who wins the elections.
A report issued by the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence on the 13th of last September stated that there are opportunities for defense cooperation with Bahrain, which the report described as being threatened by “Shiite political sedition directed by Iran and those working for it.” The French News Agency quoted an Israeli official as saying that security cooperation between Israel and Bahrain is a central item in the upcoming bilateral talks today.
Reuters reported – quoting a Bahraini source – that his country’s priority will be cooperation with Israel in the field of Internet security, after the King of Bahrain issued a decree last week to establish a national center for internet security.
In contrast to the Emirates, the public opposition to normalization is strong in Bahrain. The Bahraini National Islamic Society Al-Wefaq issued a statement today saying that the agreements between those it described as an authoritarian regime and the Zionists are treason, and the people of Bahrain will overthrow them.
Protests in Bahraini villages and areas, rejecting and denouncing the visit of the Israeli enemy delegation to Bahrain and the regime’s announcement of normalization with the usurping entity. pic.twitter.com/wobck1fAG3
– Yusuf al-Jamri (@YusufAlJamri) October 18, 2020
Refusal and demonstrations
The association said, “The regime has military in Bahrain, and has implemented an undeclared state of emergency relying on mercenaries and foreigners, to prevent Bahrainis from expressing their rejection of the visit and the relationship in general with the Zionist entity.” And community safety. The association affirmed that the categorical society rejected everything related to the Zionist entity, and its determination to drop these agreements until the end.
Bahraini opposition platforms published videos of demonstrations that took place this evening, rejecting the visit of the Israeli delegation, during which it announced the launch of official diplomatic relations with Bahrain. The participants raised the flags of Palestine and Bahrain, and banners reading “Oh Zionists, get out of our land .. Your agreement is null” and “All agreements with the Zionists are fallen .. The Bahrain regime is fallen without popular legitimacy.”