Israeli delegation lands in Bahrain

A senior Israeli delegation arrived in Bahrain today to discuss the details of a normalization agreement between the two countries.

al-monitor (L-R) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani pose before they participate in the signing of the Abraham Accords where the countries of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates recognize Israel, on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, Sept. 15, 2020. Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images.

Topics covered

sudan, manama, normalization, israel-uae agreement, israel-bahrain

Sep 23, 2020

Israel and Bahrain signed a normalization agreement in Washington on Sept. 15, and a delegation of Israeli officials arrived to Bahrain Sept. 23 to finalize the details. Israeli sources explained that Bahrain's decision to join the United Arab Emirates in establishing relations with Israel was made shortly before the White House ceremony, leaving little time for drafting a comprehensive normalization agreement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa spoke on the phone yesterday to arrange the trip. 

Bahrain’s state news agency tweeted after the conversation, "During telephone call between HRH the CP #Salman bin Hamas and @Israeli MP, HRH underscored importance of securing regional and international stability and enhancing efforts to support peace in the region. Potential areas of bilateral cooperation also reviewed #Bahrain."

The Israir flight that carried the Israeli delegation to Manama was allowed to cross Saudi Arabia's airspace, as was the El Al flight that brought a Israeli delegation to the UAE last month. The Manama delegation is composed of senior officials from the office of the prime minister, the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry, including director Alon Ushpiz. Israeli business leaders are also part of the delegation, which is expected to return tonight to Israel.

Yesterday evening, Netanyahu said a video message via Twitter, "I had an outstanding, very friendly conversation with Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad. We reiterated the principles of the Abraham Accords and discussed how we might add content to the agreements between Bahrain & Israel and turn this peace into economic peace, technological peace, tourist peace — in all of these fields. You will hear about the practical steps soon."

Arab news outlets reported this morning that there has been progress in talks between the United States, the UAE and Sudan over Sudan establishing diplomatic relations with Israel. Leaders in Sudan have expressed conflicting stances on the possibility. Recent reports indicate that the administration of President Donald Trump is willing to take Sudan off its list of terror-supporting countries in exchange for Sudan establishing ties with Israel. Reports also claim that the United States and the UAE are offering Khartoum great financial benefits, including a huge gas and wheat deal with the United States.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has made it clear it will not forge ties with Israel before the Palestinian issue is resolved. Still, recent reports say that the Saudi regime is reaching out to Jews. School textbooks are being revised to eliminate disparaging depictions of Jews and the Saudi government has prohibited the disparagement of Jews and Christians in mosques.

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